Israel surpasses 100 days of war, intensifying killings across Gaza- as it happened

Ahram Online , Monday 15 Jan 2024

On the 101st day of the brutal Israeli war on Gaza, the Israeli occupation army continues its relentless attacks, with overnight and early morning assaults killing more than 60 civilians and injuring dozens across Gaza, while the US suggests “it’s time” for Israel to consider reducing the intensity of its war rather than halting it altogether.

File Photo: Palestinians are treated as they lie on the floor after being wounded in an Israeli army bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in the hospital in Khan Younis, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. AP


20:00 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in the Gaza Strip.

"We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. To ensure sufficient aid gets to where it is needed. To facilitate the release of the hostages. To tamp down the flames of wider war because the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of escalation and miscalculation," Guterres said at a press briefing in New York. 

The UN says more than three months of fighting have displaced roughly 85 percent of the territory's population, crowded into shelters and struggling to get food, water, fuel and medical care.

Guterres condemned a humanitarian situation in Gaza that he said was "beyond words."

The "vast majority" of the UN's Palestinian staff have fled their homes and 152 staff members have been killed since 7 October, Guterres said -- "the largest single loss of life in the history of our organization."

With aid deliveries struggling to get through to a "traumatized people," Gaza now faces "the long shadow of starvation."

"Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people," Guterres said.

The UN leader also warned about what he said was escalating spillover of the conflict, including across the Lebanon-Israeli border. "This risks triggering a broader escalation... and profoundly affecting regional stability," he said.

19:00 Palestinian resistance group Hamas released a new video announcing the death of two Israeli captives who were taken to Gaza on October 7.

The video showed a woman captive named in Israeli media as Noa Argamani, 26, speaking under duress, revealing that two men she was held captive with had been killed in captivity.

It was not clear when the video was taken.

Hamas released another video on Sunday showing Argamani along with two captives who were seen alive.

The pair, named in Israeli media as Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itay Svirsky, 38, were the same men announced as having been killed in Monday's video.

In a statement released with Monday's video, Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said the two men were killed in "the Zionist army's bombing".

Shortly after the video's release, Israel's defense minister Yoav Gallant told a news conference that Hamas was applying "psychological pressure" to the families of the captives.

The army was helping the families, he said, and keeping them up to date with any developments.

"Hamas has been hit hard by the IDF (military)," he said.

"What's left for it is to touch a sensitive nerve in Israeli society through acts of psychological abuse against the family members."

Ruling out any ceasefire in Gaza, Gallant reiterated that the only way to get the captives back home is by continuing to apply "military pressure". 

Otherwise, he said, "nobody will talk to us" and we "will not succeed in reaching any agreements."

18:15 Qatar suspended liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments via the Red Sea and six more oil tankers changed direction as disruption to the crucial trade route extended to the energy sector after US-led strikes against Houthi militants, Reuters reported.

Attacks on ships since October by Yemen's Houthis, who say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians, have hit commerce and alarmed major powers in a regional escalation of Israel's more than three-month war on Gaza.

In the latest apparent attack, a US-owned bulk carrier was reportedly struck by a missile near Yemen's port of Aden, causing a fire in a hold but no injuries on board, according to British Maritime Security firm Ambrey.

In response to the instability, the world's second largest LNG exporter QatarEnergy has now held back at least four gas tankers from the Red Sea, a senior source said.

At least six more oil tankers were also steering clear on Monday, making 15 since last week's Western strikes in Yemen, according to tracking data. Prior to that, it was mostly container ships avoiding the area in fallout from the Gaza war.

The Houthis have been at war with a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen for years, but turned their sights on the sea as a way to put pressure on Israel after its war on Gaza began.

18:00 US and British forces have hit scores of targets in Yemen after weeks of Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, claiming to act in solidarity with Palestinians in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip.

The strikes have heightened fears that Israel's war on Gaza could engulf the wider region.

"We warn America and Britain to stop the war against Yemen immediately," said Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a Tehran press conference with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

He also called on the United States and Israel to “stop the war against Gaza" and said Houthis "will block Israeli ships or ships bound for Israeli ports" as long as the conflict continues.

Iran has previously called the strikes on Yemen "arbitrary" and a "violation" of international law.

Since October 7, Israel has launched a relentless military campaign on the Gaza Strip that has killed at least 24,100 Palestinians, 70 percent of them women and children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry's latest figures.

During Monday's press conference, Jaishankar said India supported a "two-state solution where the Palestinian people are able to live freely and in an independent country within secure borders."

The Houthis, who control large swathes of Yemen including the capital Sanaa since 2014, are part of a Tehran-aligned "axis of resistance" against Israel and its allies.

The rebels' attacks in the Red Sea have disrupted traffic along the vital trade route, with many firms rerouting their vessels around the tip of Africa, with knock-on effects for the world economy.

Washington said Iran was "deeply involved" in the Houthi attacks, a claim Tehran has denied.

Britain's foreign minister David Cameron has also accused Iran of being a "malign actor in the region."

President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran sees it as "its duty to support the resistance groups," but insisted that they "are independent in their opinion, decision and action."

15:30 Attacks on ships headed to Israel will continue, the chief negotiator for Yemen’s Houthis Mohammed Abdulsalam said.

He said that the group’s position has not changed since US-led air strikes on Yemen, Reuters reported.

"Attacks to prevent Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of the occupied Palestine will continue," Abdulsalam told Reuters.

He said the group was still demanding an end of the war in Gaza, and humanitarian aid deliveries to the north and south of the Gaza Strip.

"We do not want escalation in the Red and Arabian Seas," Abdulsalam said. It was the United States and Britain that were militarizing the Red Sea with their warships, he added.

"Our communication ... continues to clarify our position, and confirm that all commercial ships in the Red and Arabian Seas are safe, with the exception of Israeli ships or those heading to Israel, only and only," he said.

15:00 British actress Tracy Ann Oberman faced significant backlash and outrage after her false allegations, in a now deleted post on X, claiming that Israeli prisoners in Gaza were raped and impregnated by Hamas members.

"As a Jewish woman hearing that so many Jewish female hostages returned home pregnant after multiple Hamas rapes - that many of the female hostages some so you are pregnant from Hamas rape in captivity - is devastating,” she said without providing any evidence. 

There have been no reports, let alone evidence, of such events.

Many captives, however, reported being treated well by their captors.

Despite deleting the post, she continued to propagate the same allegations in her replies to critics.

14:50 Several people have been injured in a suspected car-ramming and stabbing in an Israeli settlement, near Tel Aviv.

"A suspect in a stolen vehicle ran over a number of people, injuring 13," the Israeli army said in a statement, with medics reporting one of them was in critical condition.

According to Israeli media reports, the suspected attacker, a Palestinian from Hebron has been arrested following the incident. 

13:30 Three United Nations agencies called on Israel to allow access to the port of Ashdod, north of Gaza, for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid into the strip.

Bringing food and supplies to the besieged population of Gaza, which is increasingly at risk of famine, also depends on the opening of new entry routes into the territory, the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint statement.

The use of Ashdod, located some 40 km (25 miles) north of the Gaza border, is "critically needed by aid agencies," they said, while calling for a "fundamental step change in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza."

Allowing humanitarian agencies to use that port "would enable significantly larger quantities of aid to be shipped in and then trucked directly to the badly affected northern regions of Gaza, which few convoys have managed to reach," they said.

13:26 The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs described a dire situation in Gaza.

"Some people have not eaten in days. The children have no winter clothes. There's no medical care... Five families are staying in one tent."


12:50 The Palestinian foreign ministry said Israel is systematically expanding its occupation of the West Bank and is under direct supervision of “terrorist” forces deployed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, national security minister.

In a post on X, the ministry strongly condemned the daily violent raids taking place across the occupied West Bank, along with the expansion of settler militias and the alleged arming of "terrorist elements" under Ben-Gvir's supervision, who also receive political and legal support and protection through various means.

“The ministry expresses deep concern about the systematic Israeli escalation in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, particularly the armed attack by a large group of settlers on the town of Burin to impose fear among Palestinian civilians and compel them to leave their homeland.”

12:45 The UNRWA released a collection of photos titled "The war in Gaza: 100 days in 100 photos." All images have been captured by the UNRWA photographers on the ground in Gaza. 

Full selection here.

11:55 The entire central area of Gaza is currently facing intense Israeli bombardment, impacting all the refugee camps – Maghazi, Bureij, and Nuseirat – as well as the Al-Zawayda area and the city of Deir Al-Balah, Al Jazeera reported.

Even the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Hospital, which has now run out of fuel, is being targeted.

Despite the challenges, an increasing number of wounded individuals are arriving at the hospital, which, unfortunately, is struggling to provide proper care, the network added.

11:00 US President Joe Biden and other senior US officials are becoming increasingly frustrated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rejection of most of the administration's recent requests related to the war in Gaza, four US officials with direct knowledge of the issue told Axios.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ynet reported that sources close to Biden say that there is a growing feeling that Netanyahu is dragging out the war for political and personal reasons and that he does not put the release of the captives as a top priority.

"The situation sucks and we are stuck. The president's patience is running out," one US official told Axios.

Biden has not spoken to Netanyahu in the 20 days since the tense 23 December call, which the frustrated Biden ended with the words: "This conversation is over." They had spoken almost every other day in the first two months of the war, Axios said.

Before Biden hung up, Netanyahu had rejected his request that Israel release the Palestinian tax revenues it is withholding.

In addition to the tax revenue issue, Biden and his advisers believe Israel is not doing enough to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

They are also frustrated by Netanyahu's unwillingness to seriously discuss plans for the day after the war and his rejection of the US plan for a reformed Palestinian Authority to have a role in Gaza.

10:50 Israel killed at least 24,100 Palestinians and injured 60,834 in Gaza since 7 October, according to the most recent official toll.

During the past 24 hours alone, Israel killed 132 Palestinians and injured 252, the health ministry said.

10:41 "It is a war of all the superlatives; the number of people killed, the number of people injured, the number of people constantly being displaced," said Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

"In the 100 days of war, we are running out of words, and even more terrible, it's taking place under our watch."

10:15 The Israeli occupation forces stormed El-Najah National University, the largest Palestinian university, which is located in Nablus in the occupied West Bank, and arrested 20 students who were protesting inside, along with several members of the university's employees and security guards.

The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education condemned the occupation army’s incursion, saying in a statement that "the continuation of the occupation's crimes and the continued desecrating of institutions of higher education constitute violates all international laws that criminalize attacks on such institutions and guarantee the right of students to education in a safe and stable environment in all circumstances."

Israel has arrested 5,875 Palestinians from the West Bank since 7 October, according to the recent tally by the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) and the Detainee and Ex-Detainees Affairs Authority.

09:50 After one hundred days of brutal aggression, the occupation has fail to achieve its four goals. It failed to achieve ethnic cleansing, failed to recover prisoners by force, failed to uproot resistance, and failed to extend control of its occupation, and it is seeking revenge, for its failure, through brutality, and ruthless killing of defenseless civilians and children," stated Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian MP, Founder of the Palestinian National Initiative, in a post on X.

09:45 The UK said it will “wait and see” before deciding to launch fresh military strikes against Houthis in Yemen, the British defense secretary Grant Shapps said.

“Let’s wait and see what happens because it’s not that we want to be involved in action in the Red Sea. But ultimately freedom of navigation is an international right,” Shapps told Sky News when asked if Britain would carry out more strikes.

On Sunday, the US military said its forces shot down a cruise missile fired at an American destroyer warship from Houthis-controlled areas of Yemen.

The attack appears to be the first against a US destroyer amid a growing number of missile and drone strikes or attempted strikes by the Houthis on Israel-linked shipping on the key Red Sea trade route.

09:15 Palestine’s mission at the UN criticized the US secretary of state for omitting any reference to the 24,000 Palestinians killed by Israel, half of whom are children, in his post to mark 100 days of war.

“Shame on those who remain complicit and do not call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Shame on them,” it said in a post on X.

Blinken only acknowledged the Israelis detained by the resistance in Gaza saying “100 days of captivity in Gaza is far too long” and vowed to bring them back.

In 100 days, 85 percent of the population in Gaza has been displaced; 50 percent are starving, the UN said.

"This conflict has taken a toll on every fabric of life in Gaza," the World Food Programme said.

09:12 The White House said “it’s the right time” for Israel to scale back its war on Gaza, but without saying it should bring it to a halt.

The White House national security council spokesman, John Kirby, told the US network CBS that the US had been speaking to Israel “about a transition to low-intensity operations” in Gaza.

"We believe it’s the right time for that transition. And we’re talking to them about doing that," he said.

09:10 The Palestinian health ministry said that more than 60 Palestinians were killed, and dozens were wounded in intense Israeli strikes and artillery bombardments across the Gaza Strip overnight.

The strikes hit the southern cities of Khan Younis and Rafah, as well as areas around Gaza City.

It said two hospitals, a girls' school, and dozens of homes were among the Israeli targets.

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