Israel-Hamas war: southern Gaza struck as aid falls into sea

United States Air Force drops humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Saturday, March 9, 2024.
United States Air Force drops humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Saturday, March 9, 2024. Copyright Mohammed Hajjar/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Mohammed Hajjar/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest from the Israel-Hamas war and Middle East conflict.

Israeli airstrikes bombard southern Gaza

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Israeli warplanes struck a high-rise residential building in Gaza's southernmost town of Rafah early Saturday, minutes after its residents received evacuation orders.

Israeli Defence Forces targeted a number of residential towers in the Hamad neighbourhood in Khan Younis.

One strike hit the Nuseirat refugee camp and neighbourhood in Deir el-Balah

At least 82 people have died in Gaza strip over the past 24 hours. The IDF claimed that troops have eliminated terrorists and their infrastructure.

A Palestinian boy sits outside a residential building destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Saturday, March 9, 2024.
A Palestinian boy sits outside a residential building destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Saturday, March 9, 2024.Hatem Ali/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

The US military confirmed early on Saturday that humanitarian airdrops into the Gaza Strip carried out by other countries into the Gaza Strip killed civilians.

The military’s Central Command, which oversees the Mideast, issued the statement on X, formerly Twitter.

It did not identify the countries involved.

“We are aware of reports of civilians killed as a result of humanitarian airdrops,” the statement read. “We express sympathies to the families of those who were killed. Contrary to some reports, this was not the result of U.S. airdrops.”

The US military airdropped food on Friday from a U.S. C-130, the equivalent of 11,500 meals donated by Jordan, into the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Earlier, Palestinian officials said five people were killed and several others injured when airdrops malfunctioned and hit people and landed on homes.

Canada to restore funding to UN Agency for Palestinian refugees

Canada will restore funding to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians, weeks after the agency, known as UNRWA, lost hundreds of millions of dollars in support following Israeli allegations against some of its staffers in Gaza.

Canada has been reassured after receiving an interim report from the UN investigation of Israel’s allegations, said Ahmed Hussen, Canada's minister of international development.

The Canadian government is due to contribute €16.8 million to UNRWA in April and did not miss a payment as a result of the pause.

Israel accused 12 UNRWA employees of participating in the 7 October Hamas attacks. In response, more than a dozen countries including Canada suspended funding to UNRWA worth about €411 million, almost half its budget for the year.

Israel now alleges that 450 UNRWA employees were members of militant groups in Gaza, although it has provided no evidence.

US military to deploy 1000 troops to transport and build floating pier off Gaza shore

The US military will deploy about 1,000 troops to transport and build a floating pier on the Gaza shore in order to get critically needed food and aid delivered to citizens there.

The Pentagon press secretary told reporters on Friday that it will take weeks for this to come together, but that the US is working as quickly as possible to get troops and equipment deployed and the pier constructed.

There will not be any US forces on the ground in Israel, Ryder said, adding that details about who will be taking the supplies ashore from the causeway are still being worked out.

Troops will build an offshore pier where large ships can offload food and supplies. Then smaller military vessels will transport that aid from the floating pier to a temporary causeway that will be driven into the ground at the shoreline.

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He added that the US is also talking with allies and others about the food distribution and other elements of the operation.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has welcomed the aid corridor, but says the plan “will take months to stand up” in its entirety.

Britain is due to help the US build a temporary port on the Gaza coast and has already sent maritime surveyors.

UN rights office says Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas amount to a "war crime"

The UN human rights office says the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem amount to a war crime.

Over 700,000 Israelis now live in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem — territories captured by Israel in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians for a future state.

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The creation and expansion of settlements amount to the transfer by Israel of its own population into territories that it occupies, “which amounts to a war crime under international law,” UN human rights chief Volker Türk's office said in a statement.

Türk presented the report to the Human Rights Council on Friday. It covers the one-year period from 1 November 2022, to 31 October 2023, when it says roughly 24,300 housing units in existing settlements in the West Bank were “advanced” — the highest number in a year since monitoring began in 2017.

Expanded settlement activity and an upsurge in violence in the West Bank in recent months have been largely overshadowed by war and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza. The international community, along with the Palestinians, considers settlement construction illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.

Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva, which regularly accuses Türk’s office of overlooking violence by Palestinian extremists against Israelis, said Friday's report “totally ignored” what it said was the deaths of 36 Israelis and injuries of nearly 300 others in attacks due to “Palestinian terrorism” last year.

Israel says Palestinian from the West Bank can visit Jerusalem holy site during Ramadan

Israel reiterated on Friday that it will allow Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to visit and pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound during the holy month of Ramadan.

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Palestinians from the territory have been unable to visit Jerusalem following travel restrictions put in place by the Israeli government immediately after the 7 October Hamas attack.

Friday’s news was confirmed by COGAT, the Israeli military body in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs. Shani Sasson, COGAT’s spokesperson, gave no details on what restrictions would remain in place.

Ramadan is expected to start on Sunday evening but that depends on the sighting of the crescent moon.

President Biden increasingly frustrated with Israeli counterpart over Gaza aid

President Joe Biden said in an exchange with a Democratic lawmaker and members of his Cabinet that he has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that they will need to have a “come to Jesus meeting.”

The comments by Biden captured on a hot mic as he spoke with Senator Michael Bennet on the floor of the House chamber following his Thursday night State of the Union address.

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In the exchange, Bennet congratulates Biden on his speech and urges the president to keep pressing Netanyahu on humanitarian concerns in Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg were also part of the brief conversation.

Biden then responds, “I told him, Bibi, and don’t repeat this, but you and I are going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.”

An aide to the president standing nearby then speaks quietly into the president’s ear, appearing to alert the president that microphones remain on as he worked the room.

“I’m on a hot mic here,” Biden says after being alerted. “Good. That’s good.”

Biden has become increasingly public about his frustration with the Netanyahu government’s unwillingness to open more land crossings for critically needed aid to make its way into Gaza.

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Israeli probe says troops shot at some people around Gaza aid convoy who were advancing towards them

The Israeli military on Friday said a review of the bloodshed surrounding an aid convoy last week that killed 118 Palestinians in northern Gaza showed that Israeli forces shot at some people in the crowd who were advancing toward them.

Israeli officials had initially said only that their troops had fired warning shots toward the crowd.

A large number of people met a pre-dawn convoy of trucks carrying aid to the war-wracked region on 29 February and began scrambling to grab the food. Witnesses said Israeli forces opened fire on them.

The military said on Friday that about 12,000 people had gathered around the trucks as they were traveling toward distribution centres and began grabbing the food aid off them.

The military review of the incident showed the troops did not fire on the convoy itself, “but did fire at a number of suspects who approached the nearby forces and posed a threat to them,” the military said.

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The military said many of the casualties were caused by a stampede over the food and people being run over by the aid trucks.

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