Israel’s war on Gaza live: Death toll from Israeli attacks tops 34,000

  • Gaza’s Health Ministry says that 42 people were killed and 63 injured in the past 24 hours.
  • Israeli forces have deployed more troops to areas adjacent to Rafah and destroyed agricultural land in the eastern areas of the district.

    European Council sanctions four Israeli settlers for violence against Palestinians

    The sanctioned individuals “are responsible for serious human rights abuses against Palestinians,” the council said in a press release, with two of the individuals taking part in deadly attacks on Palestinians.

    It named the sanctioned settlers as Meir Ettinger, Elisha Yered, Neria Ben Pazi, and Yinon Levi.

    In addition, the council announced sanctions on two entities – Jewish supremacist group Lehava and radical youth group Hilltop Youth, whose members it said are known for violence in the occupied West Bank.

    “With today’s listings, restrictive measures under the EU’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime now apply to 108 natural and legal persons and 28 entities from a range of countries,” said the council.

    Gaza death toll rises

    At least 34,012 Palestinians have been killed and 76,833 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, its Health Ministry says.

    The ministry added that 42 people were killed and 63 injured in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

    Israeli court orders release of anti-Zionist professor: Report

    The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has ruled that there are no grounds to keep Hebrew University Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian in custody and she must be released, the Times of Israel reports.

    Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a vocal anti-Zionist, was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of incitement after raising doubts about allegations of sexual assault during the Hamas-led attacks in southern Israel on October 7 and allegedly calling Israelis “criminals”.

    The Israeli Law Professors’ Forum for Democracy and other rights groups spoke out in her defence, saying she had committed no crime.

    The forum said Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s statements, “even if some find them outrageous, constitute neither incitement to racism or terrorism nor any other criminal offence”.

    “The decision to open a criminal investigation and arrest her seriously harms free speech and academic freedom.”

    Hamas official calls for ‘expanding engagement’ against Israel: Report

    Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official, has said it is time to “expand the scale of the engagement” against Israel in response to its “war of genocide in Gaza and the escalation in the region”.

    Speaking to Reuters news agency, Abu Zuhri slammed Israel’s “aggression” towards Iran, characterising it as a hostile act against the region.

    Hamas for weeks has engaged in indirect ceasefire talks with Israel, but the negotiations have stalled, according to mediator Qatar, as concern mounts in Gaza that Israel will push ahead with a bloody invasion of Rafah.

    Raid of Nur Shams camp ongoing, at least 1 killed and 3 injured

    The raid has been going on for about 15 or 16 hours now and there seems to be no letup in sight.

    We know that at least three Palestinian residents of the camp have been injured, and at least one person has been killed by an Israeli sniper’s bullets.

    We’ve been hearing the sound of drones overhead for hours – and multiple large, loud explosions.

    Sustained small-arms fire, indicative of active firefights, is ongoing. The Israeli military has at least 40 military vehicles, with potentially dozens of Israeli soldiers fighting against Palestinian armed resistance fighters who are using small arms as well as explosives.

    We also know that the Israelis have taken in new military bulldozers that are capable of driving directly through houses – and that’s what they’ve been doing.

    Dozens of homes are destroyed and demolished. Israeli soldiers have been carrying out raids in homes, carrying out on-site interrogations.

    This is likely to carry on for several hours. The situation remains very dangerous inside the camp.

    UAE says full Palestinian UN membership would help improve peace efforts: Report

    The United Arab Emirates says granting Palestinians full membership in the United Nations would be “an important step to boost peace efforts in the region”, the state news agency (WAM) reported after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution to that effect.

    Blinken reiterates US not supportive of Rafah operation

    The United States believes that Israel can achieve its military objectives in Gaza without an all-out invasion of Rafah, which the US will not support, said Blinken.

    “We believe that a major military operation with a large presence of civilian population would have terrible consequences for that population,” he said.

    He added that the US had engaged in discussions about Rafah with senior Israeli officials as recently as this week and that such discussions would continue.

    Blinken blames Hamas for lack of Gaza ceasefire

    “The only thing standing between [Palestinians in Gaza] and a ceasefire is Hamas,” Blinken claimed in his G7 remarks.

    The Palestinian group Hamas has “rejected generous proposals from Israel. It seems more interested in a regional conflict than it is in a ceasefire that would immediately improve the lives of the Palestinian people”, Blinken added.

    More from Blinken at G7 summit

    Blinken says that even with Israel and Iran trading attacks, “we’ve remained intensely focused on Gaza” and addressing the humanitarian crisis there.

    He urged Israel to quickly meet its “humanitarian commitments” in the enclave: “more aid, more crossings, better deconfliction, better distribution of the assistance to all who need it.”

    “We need to see sustained results,” said Blinken.

    Blinken: G7 committed to Israel’s security

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking after a G7 summit on the Italian island of Capri, said the bloc has emerged from its reunion “more united than ever”, including on how to address the conflict in the Middle East.

    “We’re committed to Israel’s security,” says Blinken. “We’re also committed to de-escalating to try to bring this tension to a close.”

    We’ll bring you more of Blinken’s remarks shortly.

    Israeli military says it attacked Hezbollah site, fighters

    Israeli aircraft have struck a Hezbollah military structure with fighters inside it in the town of Ayta ash Shab in southern Lebanon, according to the Israeli military.

    In a post on Telegram, Israel’s military shared footage of what it said was the strike, which apparently left the targeted facility engulfed in a cloud of smoke and debris.

    More than 10,000 women killed in Gaza war: UN

    Nearly one-third of people killed in the Gaza war – at least 10,000 people – have been women, according to the agency, UN Women.

    Out of these women, 6,000 are mothers, whose deaths have left 19,000 orphans, according to UN Women.

    “Women who have survived Israeli bombardment and ground operations have been displaced, widowed, and facing starvation,” said the UN agency. “This devastating differentiated impact continues to make the war on Gaza also a war on women.”

    G7 ministers call for Gaza ceasefire, oppose Rafah invasion

    Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) bloc have issued a joint statement after a meeting on the Italian island of Capri.calling for the release of Israeli captives in Gaza and a sustainable ceasefire in the enclave

    The G7 statement also expressed opposition to a full-scale military operation inside Rafah, which Israel’s government has been threatening despite the presence of more than 1.7 million displaced Palestinians there.

    “We reiterate our call for a credible and actionable plan to protect the civilian population there,” the foreign ministers said.

    G7 members include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union.

    Biden mulling another $1.3bn in weapons sales to Israel: Report

    The weapons deals being floated would provide Israel with $700m worth of tank ammunition, $500m in tactical vehicles, and less than $100m in mortar rounds, according to US officials cited by the Wall Street Journal.

    These proposed arms transfers would supplement those put forward in a separate bill by House Republicans, which budgets $26bn in additional military aid to Israel.

    Biden has faced growing backlash, even from leading figures in his own party, for continuing to supply Israel weapons even while raising concerns about Israel’s war conduct and the worsening humanitarian toll in Gaza.

    Israeli raid in West Bank’s Nur Shams causes ‘worst destruction’ in decades

    The Israeli military went into Nur Shams refugee camp late Thursday night, and on Friday morning, they were still there.

    In 12 hours of raids, they destroyed roads, buildings, shops and houses, and tore up sewage lines.

    On Friday morning, the raids were ongoing.

    Locals describe the mayhem being carried out by the Israeli military as the worst destruction of infrastructure they’ve seen in the West Bank since the destruction of the Jenin refugee camp during the second Intifada in the early 2000s.

    Residents say they are worried that this escalation and intensity is a signal that once the Israeli military is done with Gaza, the West Bank will be next.

    Netanyahu gaining in polls against Gantz

    A new poll suggests that Israeli PM Netanyahu is now trailing his main opponent in popularity by a much smaller margin compared with three months ago.

    The poll, carried out by Maariv and published by the Lazar Institute, found that 42 percent of respondents would prefer Gantz as Israel’s PM, while 37 percent still support Netanyahu.

    While still trailing Gantz, the poll marks an upward trend for Netanyahu, who has drawn widespread public criticism for failing to secure the release of Israeli captives still in Gaza. In a January poll conducted by Channel 12, only 29 percent of respondents said Netanyahu was best suited to be PM.

    In case you’re just joining us

    • Displaced Palestinians in Rafah fear they will face an impending Israeli military incursion, multiplying suffering and bloodshed in the enclave, reports Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum from the southern Gaza governorate.
    • Senior Israeli officials have discussed the prospect they will be issued arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court in The Hague due to Israel’s conduct in its war on Gaza, according to Israeli media reports.
    • Two Israeli soldiers have been “lightly wounded” in clashes with Palestinian fighters in Nur Shams refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, reports Israel’s Army Radio.

      Two Israeli soldiers wounded in Nur Shams refugee camp

      Two Israeli soldiers have been injured while raiding Nur Shams refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, according to Israel’s Army Radio.

      The soldiers were “lightly wounded” by shrapnel while exchanging fire with fighters there, according to the report.

      The Israeli military has carried out near daily raids throughout the occupied West Bank since October 7, encountering some of its fiercest resistance in the Nur Shams camp.

      Palestinians fearing Rafah invasion ‘don’t know where to go next’

      As concerns mount over a potential Israeli military incursion into Rafah, many Palestinians sheltering there are at a loss over where they could turn next as much of the rest of the enclave is in shambles, reports Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum from Rafah.

      Evacuating displaced Palestinians in Rafah to other areas of Gaza, as Israel has proposed, would be especially catastrophic for those who need medical care, which is sparsely available in the rest of the enclave.

      “If people are transferred to other parts of the Gaza Strip, it will be a full collapse of medical services,” said Abu Azzoum.

      Israeli military claims to hit 25 targets in Gaza in last day

      Israeli air strikes have killed numerous fighters and taken out extensive military infrastructure in Gaza over the last day, Israel’s military said in a statement on Telegram.

      In one strike, Israeli aircraft destroyed a weapons depot and a launch post in the northern area of Beit Lahiya, from which fighters fired a rocket towards the Israeli town of Ashkelon, the military said.

      Israel’s latest wave of attacks in Gaza have also killed numerous civilians, including at least four in a home near Gaza City.

      Iran’s attack on Israel may have emboldened Netanyahu

      Hassan Barari, a professor at Qatar University, says that US pressure on Israel eased after Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles in a retaliatory strike after a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy compound in Syria on April 1.

      “Prior to the Iranian attack on Israel, the Americans seem to me having more, probably, leverage to influence Netanyahu,” he told Al Jazeera. “And now, Netanyahu feels that his country was the victim and now he has the right to continue whatever he wants to do.”

      Barari added that there are signs that the Israeli prime minister is successfully convincing the US that Hamas cannot be defeated unless its army moves into Rafah.

      “The Americans have been moving slowly but surely toward the decision to move into Rafah,” he said. “The problem here is that what are you going to do with the humanitarian dimension of the conflict? How many people are you going to kill? How are civilians going to be displaced?”

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