Sudan Receives Humanitarian Aid to Fight COVID-19

The two planes carrying medical supplies and urgent humanitarian aid arrive at Khartoum Airport, where about 700,000 people will benefit from them. Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic
The two planes carrying medical supplies and urgent humanitarian aid arrive at Khartoum Airport, where about 700,000 people will benefit from them. Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic
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Sudan Receives Humanitarian Aid to Fight COVID-19

The two planes carrying medical supplies and urgent humanitarian aid arrive at Khartoum Airport, where about 700,000 people will benefit from them. Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic
The two planes carrying medical supplies and urgent humanitarian aid arrive at Khartoum Airport, where about 700,000 people will benefit from them. Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic

The International Humanitarian City (IHC) chartered two aircraft rotations to transport the vital cargo from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Khartoum Airport.

The planes landed in Khartoum, carrying WHO supplies weighing 54 metric tons at a total value of AED3 million ($816,000), which is estimated to reach over 700,000 beneficiaries.

The WHO and IHC are dispatching emergency health kits, personnel protection equipment, laboratory tests and appropriate medical supplies stored within IHC premises.

The aim is to help Sudan ease challenges in detecting, preventing, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and providing treatments.

Chief Executive Officer of International Humanitarian City Giuseppe Saba said that "by supporting the emergency response of its member community, IHC’s efforts reflect Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for assisting populations affected by natural disasters and complex emergencies.”

"IHC has been always together with its community and will continue to pro-actively support humanitarian actions and continue to serve communities in need.”

WHO Representative in Sudan Dr. Nima Abid said that "these supplies are a lifeline for people in need of health care in Sudan."

"Support from IHC has allowed us to deliver these supplies at a time when they are most needed, to make sure people have access to the health services they need and avoid unnecessary loss of lives.”

Abid further expressed that the WHO is grateful "to the United States Agency for International Development, the European Commission for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, the Sudan Humanitarian Response Fund, and WHO’s Central Emergency Response Fund, whose generous contributions allowed the procurement of these urgently-needed supplies.”



UN Chief Warns Gaza War May Aggravate Threats to Global Peace, Security

People watch as others search for victims amid the rubble of a smouldering building, following an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
People watch as others search for victims amid the rubble of a smouldering building, following an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
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UN Chief Warns Gaza War May Aggravate Threats to Global Peace, Security

People watch as others search for victims amid the rubble of a smouldering building, following an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
People watch as others search for victims amid the rubble of a smouldering building, following an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023. (AFP)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on Wednesday that the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip "may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security."

Guterres invoked the rarely used Article 99 of the founding UN Charter that allows him to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."

"We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system. The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region," Guterres wrote in a letter to the 15-member council.

"Such an outcome must be avoided at all cost," he said.


US Navy Downed Drone Originating from Houthi-Controlled Part of Yemen

Houthi militants stand guard near an army vehicle with a Palestinian flag, at a government complex, in Sanaa, Yemen, 04 December 2023. (EPA)
Houthi militants stand guard near an army vehicle with a Palestinian flag, at a government complex, in Sanaa, Yemen, 04 December 2023. (EPA)
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US Navy Downed Drone Originating from Houthi-Controlled Part of Yemen

Houthi militants stand guard near an army vehicle with a Palestinian flag, at a government complex, in Sanaa, Yemen, 04 December 2023. (EPA)
Houthi militants stand guard near an army vehicle with a Palestinian flag, at a government complex, in Sanaa, Yemen, 04 December 2023. (EPA)

The US Navy shot down a drone that originated from a part of Yemen controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi militias on Wednesday morning, a US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Houthis' military spokesman later said the militias fired several ballistic missiles at military posts in the southern Israeli city of Eilat.

In a statement, the Houthis said they would continue to "carry out their military operations against the Israeli enemy, as well as implementing the decision to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Arab and Red Seas in support of the oppressed Palestinian people."

It is the sixth time the US Navy has fired upon drones in the southern Red Sea since war broke out between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct. 7 and comes amid a series of attacks on commercial vessels in Middle Eastern waters.

Earlier on Wednesday, Britain's Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency and British maritime security company Ambrey reported an incident involving a suspected drone over the Red Sea west of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

UKMTO warned vessels transiting the area to exercise caution.

There was no damage to US Navy vessels or injuries to US personnel in the attack, said the US official, who declined to be named.

The US military said on Sunday that three commercial vessels had come under attack in the southern Red Sea.

The Houthis on Sunday claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area, saying in a broadcast that the attacks came in response to the demands of Yemenis to stand with the Palestinian people.


UN: Gazans Living in ‘Utter, Deepening Horror’

Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)
Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)
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UN: Gazans Living in ‘Utter, Deepening Horror’

Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)
Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living in "utter, deepening horror", the UN human rights chief said Wednesday, as he pleaded for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Volker Turk said there was a high risk of atrocity crimes being committed in such "catastrophic" humanitarian circumstances."

"Civilians in Gaza continue to be relentlessly bombarded by Israel and collectively punished -- suffering death, siege, destruction and deprivation of the most essential human needs such as food, water, lifesaving medical supplies and other essentials on a massive scale," he told a press conference.

"Palestinians in Gaza are living in utter, deepening horror."

He said 1.9 million of the Palestinian enclave's 2.2 million people had been displaced and were being pushed into "ever-diminishing and extremely overcrowded places in southern Gaza, in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions".

"The catastrophic situation we see unfolding in the Gaza Strip was entirely foreseeable and preventable.

"In these circumstances, there is a heightened risk of atrocity crimes," the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said.

"As an immediate step, I call for an urgent cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages," he said, adding: "you need to come back to your senses".

'Hateful rhetoric'

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group's October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities, and saw around 240 hostages taken into Gaza.

The latest toll from the Hamas-run government media office said 16,248 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, had been killed.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and free 138 hostages still held after scores were released during a short-lived truce.

Turk said he was gravely concerned by "dehumanizing and inciteful statements" made by current and former Israeli officials, as well as Hamas figures.

"History has shown us where this kind of language can lead," he said.

"This is not just unacceptable, but a competent court may view such statements, in the circumstances in which they were made, as incitement to atrocity crimes."

Decrying a sharp rise in hate speech globally over the past two months -- in particular anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry -- he said political leaders using "inflammatory, toxic and hateful rhetoric... must be vigorously condemned".

Push for peace

Turk said the human rights crisis in the occupied West Bank was also "extremely alarming", calling for Israeli authorities to take immediate steps to end "widespread impunity" for violations.

"The only way to end the accumulative sufferings is ending the occupation and achieving the two-state solution," he said.

Turk said he had met Palestinians and Israelis who want a peaceful future for both sides, whose voices were currently not being heard.

"I hope that they will be much stronger in the future," he said.

"One thing is very clear: it cannot go back to what it was."


Israel Says Reviewing Strike that Killed Lebanese Soldier

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)
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Israel Says Reviewing Strike that Killed Lebanese Soldier

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)

The Israeli army said on Wednesday it was reviewing a strike that “harmed” troops in south Lebanon, an apparent reference to Israeli shelling that killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded three others the previous day.
The Lebanese troops “were not the target of the strike,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

It expressed “regret over the incident,” saying “the incident is under review.”

Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire across the Lebanese-Israeli border since the start of the war between the Palestinian group Hamas and Israel on Oct. 7.
The Lebanese army said the soldier, a sergeant, was killed when an army position was shelled by Israel on Tuesday.
The Israeli army said its soldiers had acted in "self defense to eliminate an imminent threat that had been identified from Lebanon" from a "known launch area and observation point" used by Hezbollah.
The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon UNIFIL noted in a statement on Tuesday it was the first Lebanese army soldier killed during the hostilities, and that the Lebanese army had not engaged in conflict with Israel.

Hezbollah said in a statement that it had fired guided missiles at a group of Israeli soldiers in Manara in northern Israel in retaliation for the killing.


Heavy Fighting in Gaza Halts Most Aid Delivery, Leaves Civilians with Few Places to Seek Safety

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
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Heavy Fighting in Gaza Halts Most Aid Delivery, Leaves Civilians with Few Places to Seek Safety

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Intense fighting blocked relief workers from distributing food, water and medicine across most of the Gaza Strip, deepening the humanitarian crisis as Israeli forces battled Hamas militants Wednesday in a ground offensive that has brought some of the devastation and mass displacement seen in the north to the south.

As the focus of the offensive moves down the Gaza Strip and into the second-largest city of Khan Younis, it is further shrinking the area where Palestinians can seek safety and pushing large numbers of people, many of whom have been forced to flee multiple times, toward the sealed-off border with Egypt.

On the Gaza side of the border, makeshift shelters and family homes are already overflowing and many people are sleeping in the streets. On the other side, Egypt has refused any mass influx of refugees, saying it believes Israel will not let them back into Gaza and that the two countries' decades-old peace treaty would be undermined.

The UN says some 1.87 million people — over 80% of the population of 2.3 million — have already fled their homes. Many Palestinians fear they will not be allowed to return.

Much of the north, including large parts of Gaza City, has been completely destroyed, and Palestinians worry the rest of Gaza could suffer a similar fate as Israel tries to dismantle Hamas, which has deep roots in the territory it has ruled for 16 years.

Two months of Israeli bombardment and ground assaults have killed more than 16,200 people in Gaza — most of them women and children — and wounded more than 42,000, the territory’s Health Ministry said late Tuesday. It has said many are also trapped under rubble. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths.

Israel has vowed to fight on, saying it can no longer accept Hamas rule or the group's military presence in Gaza after the Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war. Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took captive some 240 men, women and children in that attack.

An estimated 138 hostages remain in Gaza after more than 100 were freed during a ceasefire last week. Their plight, and accounts of rape and other atrocities committed during the rampage, have deepened Israel’s outrage and further galvanized support for the war.

PUSHED TO THE EDGE The war has been an unprecedented catastrophe for Palestinian civilians, eclipsing all four previous wars between Israel and Hamas, and their suffering is set to worsen as the offensive grinds on.

For the past three days, aid distribution — mainly just supplies of flour and water — has been possible only in and around Rafah, on the border with Egypt, because of fighting and road closures by Israeli forces, the UN’s humanitarian aid office said.

It said tens of thousands of people have fled into Rafah from Khan Younis and other areas, overwhelming already overcrowded shelters.

“You find displaced people in the streets, in schools, in mosques, in hospitals … everywhere,” said Hamza Abu Mustafa, a teacher who lives near a school-turned-shelter in Rafah and is hosting three families himself.

“The situation is extremely dire,” he said.

A Palestinian woman who identified herself as Umm Ahmed said the harsh conditions and limited access to toilets are especially difficult for women who are pregnant or menstruating. Some have taken to social media to request menstrual pads, which are increasingly hard to find.

“For women and girls, the suffering is double,” Umm Ahmed said. “It’s more humiliation.”

The humanitarian crisis gets even worse farther north, where aid supplies can no longer reach.

People in UN-run shelters in Khan Younis are fighting over food, said Nawraz Abu Libdeh, who is living in a shelter after being displaced six times. “The hunger war has started,” he said. “This is the worst of all wars.”

The World Food Program warned that the renewed fighting “will only intensify the catastrophic hunger crisis that already threatens to overwhelm the civilian population.”

In the central town of Deir al-Balah, the aid group Doctors Without Borders said fuel and medical supplies have reached “critically low levels” at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. Up to 200 wounded people have been brought in every day since Dec. 1, when the weeklong truce expired, it said.

“Without electricity, ventilators would cease to function, blood donations would have to stop, the sterilization of surgical instruments would be impossible,” said Marie-Aure Perreaut Revial, the aid group’s emergency coordinator in Gaza. She said they are also running low on surgical supplies and equipment to stabilize broken bones.

Israel has barred entry of food, water, medicine, fuel and other supplies into Gaza, except for a trickle of aid from Egypt. Gaza has been without electricity since the first week of the war, and several hospitals have been forced to shut down for lack of fuel to operate emergency generators.

NO END IN SIGHT The Gaza Health Ministry’s death toll for Palestinians tracks with a figure released this week by the Israeli military, which said about 5,000 of the dead were militants, without saying how it arrived at its count.

The military says 88 of its soldiers have been killed in the Gaza ground offensive.

It accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields when the militants operate in residential areas. But Israel has not given detailed accounts of individual strikes, some of which have leveled entire city blocks.

The Israeli military said Tuesday that its troops were “in the heart” of Khan Younis after what it described as “the most intense day” of fighting since the start of the ground operation five weeks ago, with heavy battles in the north as well.

Hamas’ continuing ability to fight in areas where Israel entered with overwhelming force weeks ago signals that eradicating the group without causing further mass casualties and displacement — as Israel’s top ally, the US, has requested — could prove elusive.

Even after weeks of bombardment, Hamas’ top leader in Gaza, Yehya Sinwar — whose location is unknown — was able to conduct complex ceasefire negotiations and orchestrate the release of scores of hostages last week. Palestinian militants have also kept up their rocket fire into Israel.


Russia, Algeria Hold Naval Exercises in Mediterranean Sea

Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)
Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)
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Russia, Algeria Hold Naval Exercises in Mediterranean Sea

Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)
Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)

Russia and Algeria will hold joint naval exercises in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday, the Algerian Defense Ministry announced.

It said the joint exercises aim to enhance military cooperation between the two countries.

On its social media account, the Ministry said on Monday that the Admiral Grigorovich frigate from the Black Sea fleet, has already docked in the Port of Algiers.

Its presence in Algiers underlines the military cooperation between the Algerian and Russian military, it said.

The naval exercises will include various tactical and interceptive exercises. The Russian frigate will be stationed in Algeria until December 12. It is the third of its kind to dock on the Algerian coasts in the past few months.

In August, the Mercury 734 missile corvette stopped at the port of Algiers.

Military rapprochement between Algeria and Moscow has intensified in the past two years. It was reflected in high-level visits conducted at the military level.

Last July, the chief of staff of Algeria's military, Said Chengriha, has visited Russia, where he met with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Also, on the occasion of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s visit to Moscow last June, Sputnik news agency quoted Shoigu as saying that Algeria wants to buy Russian military equipment, including tanks, aircraft, and anti-aircraft defense systems.

Algerian officers are particularly keen to acquire submarines, Su-57 (Sukhoi) stealth aircraft, Su-34 bombers, and Su-30 fighters, reports said earlier. Algeria also hopes to acquire new air defense systems, such as the S-400, the Viking, and the Antey-4000.

Therefore, the North African country aims to increase its military budget as per the draft finance law of 2023-2024.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday praised the level of economic and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Algeria at the ceremony of accepting credentials from the newly appointed foreign ambassadors.

In addition, Putin recalled that in 2024-2025 Algeria will get a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. “We will, of course, intensify coordination with Algerian partners on topical issues on the international and regional agenda,” he added.


US Aid Chief Announces New Help on Visit Near Gaza Border

Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP
Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP
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US Aid Chief Announces New Help on Visit Near Gaza Border

Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP
Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP

The US aid chief on Tuesday announced new support for the war-battered Gaza Strip on a visit to Egypt, as a renewed Israeli offensive again puts Palestinians at risk.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, travelled to the Egyptian town of El-Arish, the gateway to Rafah, the border crossing that has been reopened but at limited capacity since the war started.

Power announced $21 million in new US assistance that will include hygiene and shelter supplies and food for people in Gaza, where water and other basics have been in short supply.

USAID said the assistance was in addition to $100 million announced by President Joe Biden on October 18, AFP reported.

Power accompanied the delivery by the US military of another 16.3 metric tonnes (36,000 pounds) of previously announced assistance that includes medical supplies, winter clothing and emergency food.

"During the pause in hostilities last week, we saw important and overdue progress toward addressing the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Power told reporters.

"The United States is now doing everything in our power to advance that progress," she said.

"As Israel's military operations continue, Palestinian civilians must be protected. Far too many innocent civilians have been killed."

Power said she spoke with the Egyptian Red Crescent and United Nations officials on ways to speed up the pace of aid getting into Gaza.

"The levels of aid reached during the pause need to be the bare minimum of what goes in going forward," she said.

The State Department said Monday that Israel, after US appeals, let badly needed fuel into the Gaza Strip.

But the United States has also faced strong criticism in the Arab world for its military and diplomatic support of Israel, which has carried out a major offensive in response to an October 7 attack by Hamas.

Israel resumed its military campaign on Friday after saying Hamas reneged on terms of a deal to free hostages.


UN Says 'Not Possible' to Create Safe Zones in Gaza

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS
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UN Says 'Not Possible' to Create Safe Zones in Gaza

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS

The United Nations warns that it is impossible to create so-called safe zones for civilians to flee to inside the Gaza Strip amid Israel's bombing campaign.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group's October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.

The health ministry in Gaza says the war has killed nearly 15,900 people in the territory.

James Elder, spokesperson for the United Nations children's agency UNICEF, said the areas of Gaza designated as safe by Israel were nowhere near meeting basic requirements, warning an absence of sanitation and shelter have created a "perfect storm" for outbreaks of disease.

"It's a safe zone when you can guarantee the conditions of food, water, medicine and shelter," he told reporters via video link from Cairo after visiting Gaza.

"I've seen for myself these are entirely, entirely absent... These are tiny patches of barren land or they're street corners. They're sidewalks. They're half-built buildings. There is no water."

"Only a ceasefire is going to save the children of Gaza right now," and called the Israeli approach to creating these zones "callous and cold," Reuters quoted him saying.

Also, a World Health Organization official in Gaza said on Tuesday the situation was deteriorating by the hour as Israeli bombing has intensified in the south of the Palestinian enclave around the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.

"The situation is getting worse by the hour," Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in Gaza, told reporters via video link. "There's intensified bombing going on all around, including here in the southern areas, Khan Younis and even in Rafah."

Peeperkorn said the humanitarian aid reaching Gaza was "way too little" and said the WHO was deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the health system in the densely populated enclave as more people move further south to escape the bombing.

"We will witness the same pattern of what happened in the north," he said, referring to an area of northern Gaza that was heavily bombed and nearly cut off from humanitarian supplies.

"That cannot happen ... I want to make this point very clear that we are looking at an increasing humanitarian disaster."

Thomas White, Director of Affairs at the UN Palestinian agency in Gaza, said a population of more than 600,000 had been ordered to move to escape bombardment.

"Rafah that normally has a population of 280K and already hosting around 470K IDP (internally displaced people) will not cope with a doubling of its IDP population," White wrote on social media platform X.

The WHO's Peeperkorn said the agency had complied with an Israeli order to remove supplies from warehouses in Khan Younis. He said WHO had been told the area would "most likely become an area of active combat in the coming days."

"We want to make sure that we can actually deliver essential medical supplies," he said.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday appealed to Israel to withdraw the order. Israel denied asking for the evacuation of warehouses.


Israeli Escalation Kills Lebanese Soldier, Hezbollah Missiles Target Kiryat Shmona

An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)
An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)
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Israeli Escalation Kills Lebanese Soldier, Hezbollah Missiles Target Kiryat Shmona

An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)
An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)

A Lebanese soldier was killed and three others were wounded on Tuesday in an Israeli shelling that targeted one of their bases in the South, the Lebanese Army announced.

In a statement, the Army Command said that “a military base in the Nabi Oweida-Adaisseh area was attacked by the Israeli enemy, which caused the death of a soldier and the injury of three others.”

The exchange of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli army escalated violently on Tuesday, reaching its peak in the evening when Kiryat Shmona was targeted with missiles.

Shelling and strikes began early on Tuesday, as Hezbollah carried out four military operations until noon, targeting the Shebaa Farms in the eastern sector. Israel said that it shot down a drone near Margaliot on the northern border with Lebanon, while the Israeli media announced the closure of several roads in the Upper Galilee to traffic.

In a statement, the Israeli army said that it attacked Hezbollah positions in response to the cross-border attack. It stated that fighter jets “bombed Hezbollah launch sites, terrorist infrastructure, and a military complex”, in response to “launching operations from Lebanon into Israel” on Monday.

The statement added that Israel responded to rocket fire against Zarit by striking “the sources of fire,” noting that it also “struck a few other locations in Lebanese territory” to eliminate unspecified threats.

In the evening, the Israeli media announced that sirens sounded in Kiryat Shmona, Margaliot and Manara in northern Israel, and said that the Israeli army had closed several road axes in the Upper Galilee region in northern Kiryat Shmona.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah announced a series of operations against Israeli positions and concentrations of Israeli soldiers on the border, including the Ruwais al-Asi and Tayhat Triangle sites opposite the town of Mays al-Jabal, the Zabdin Barracks located in the Shebaa Farms, and Al-Bayad site opposite to the Lebanese town of Blida.


Jordan’s King Abdullah Says World Should Condemn Any Attempt to Forcibly Expel Palestinians

Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)
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Jordan’s King Abdullah Says World Should Condemn Any Attempt to Forcibly Expel Palestinians

Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)

Jordan's King Abdullah said on Tuesday the world should condemn any attempt by Israel to create conditions that would forcibly displace Palestinians within the war-devastated Gaza Strip or outside its borders.

In remarks carried by state media after a meeting with the Cypriot president in Amman, the monarch again called for an immediate ceasefire and warned that Israel's relentless bombing campaign was leading to a "dangerous deterioration" in the situation.

Talks with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides focused on the need to increase efforts to deliver humanitarian aid and relief to the embattled civilians living in Gaza.

Abdullah has lobbied Western leaders to pile pressure on Israel to allow an uninterrupted flow of aid and open crossings it controls to bring in sufficient level of aid needed.

Israel now controls the volume and nature of aid entering to over 2.3 million inhabitants under siege, according to UN officials and humanitarian workers.

UNRWA officials say only a trickle of the aid the enclave needs is getting through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt which NGOs and officials say can only handle a fraction of the needs.

Israel started its campaign in retribution for an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas fighters who rampaged through Israeli towns, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages, according to Israel's tally.

Israeli bombardments have killed nearly 16,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health ministry figures, and driven 80% of the population from their homes.

King Abdullah told Christodoulides there would be dangerous consequences from any attempt to forcibly push Palestinians en masse from their land while it maintained security control, officials said.

Officials also fear wider violence in the West Bank, which Jordan borders, as settler attacks on Palestinian civilians, confiscation of land and Israeli military raids mount.

It could create circumstances that could encourage Israel to forcibly push tens of thousands of Palestinians across the Jordan River.

Officials say the forcible expulsion of Palestinians would amount to a declaration of war and prompt Jordan to suspend its peace treaty with Israel.

On Tuesday, Amman condemned Israel's move to build new settlements in Arab East Jerusalem, the part of the contested city that was seized along with the West Bank in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the UN considers occupied territory.

"Israel's expansion of Jewish settlement building on land it occupied and the confiscation of territory are a flagrant violation of international law" and dimmed any prospects of peace, said Sufain Qudah, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry.