Washington lines up with Israel as Iran retaliation threat puts region on edge - as it happened

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Apr 2024

Ahram Online provided coverage of the Israeli war on Gaza on its 189th day.

Israeli bombardment
A family accompanies an injured Palestinian girl following Israeli bombardment on the Firas market area in Gaza City on April 11, 2024. AFP


18:45 ​Poland’s government on Friday called the killing of a Polish aid worker by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza murder and demanded Israel's support for a Polish investigation into the case.

Deputy Foreign Minister Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski told lawmakers in parliament that the April 1 death of Damian Soból, 35, and six other workers of the World Central Kitchen charity who were distributing food in Gaza was “shocking and disturbing.”

Poland expects Israel's “full cooperation” in the investigation opened by Polish prosecutors in Soból’s hometown of Przemyśl in Poland’s southeast, Bartoszewski said. The prosecutors “have classified it as a murder,” he said.

Israel conducted a speedy investigation and took responsibility for the deaths, but said the attack that killed the aid workers and their Palestinian driver was a "tragic mistake."

It shared the findings with the countries that lost citizens in the attack.

The Israeli military dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others, saying they violated the army’s rules of engagement.

Bartoszewski said that the dismissals and disciplinary measures were “inadequate.”

He demanded an independent court in Israel try the case.

During a debate in the Polish parliament, many lawmakers said the killings should be considered a war crime.

18:30 Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Friday that Israel and the United States were "shoulder to shoulder" in facing the threat from Iran, after talks with US Central Command chief Michael Kurilla.

"Our enemies think that they can pull apart Israel and the United States, but the opposite is true -- they are bringing us together and strengthening our ties," Gallant said in a statement after the two discussed Iran's threats of retaliation for a deadly Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria.

Earlier, the White House said Iran's threats of reprisals against Israel after a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals remain "real" and "viable".

"We still deem the potential threat by Iran here to be real, to be viable," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

18:00 Norway is ready to recognise a Palestinian state with other countries, its prime minister said on Friday while hosting Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez, who is seeking support for the cause.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters that such a decision would need to be taken in close coordination with "like-minded countries."

"Norway stands ready to recognise the state of Palestine," Store told a joint press conference with Sanchez.

"We have not set a firm timetable," Store added.

In November, Norway's parliament adopted a government proposal to prepare the country to recognise an independent Palestinian state.

Norway also hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at the beginning of the 1990s, which led to the Oslo Accords.

Sanchez is currently on a tour of Poland, Norway and Ireland this week to drum up support for the recognition of a Palestinian state, according to a Spanish government spokesperson.

Speaking alongside Store, Sanchez said Spain was "committed to recognising Palestine as a state, as soon as possible, when the conditions are appropriate, and in a way that can have the most positive impact on the peace process."

On March 22, Spain issued a statement with Ireland, Malta and Slovenia on the sidelines of an EU leaders summit, saying they were "ready to recognise Palestine" in a move that would happen when "the circumstances are right".

Last week, Sanchez told reporters travelling with him on his Middle East tour that he hoped it would happen by the end of June.

Store on Friday said that he welcomed Sanchez's initiative to consult among countries to "strengthen coordination".

"We will intensify that coordination in the coming weeks," Store said.

The Spanish leader has repeatedly angered Israel with his outspoken criticism of Tel Aviv's war on Gaza.

17:00 It was not a happy Eid for millions of Palestinians in the under-bombardment Gaza Strip or the under-siege West Bank.

In central Gaza, Palestinians had to bury tens of relatives and loved ones killed by Israeli airstrikes.

In the occupied West Bank, more Israeli raids killed and injured several young men.

Editors Note - Graphic Content: Israel's gift to Palestinians for Eid? More death and destruction! Photo Gallery

16:00 Five Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have filed a legal complaint in Berlin against the German government over its delivery of weapons to Israel, an NGO representing them said Friday.

The complaint seeks to "revoke the export licences issued by the German government for arms deliveries to Israel", the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the administrative court in Berlin confirmed it received the complaint late Thursday. The five plaintiffs live in different parts of the Gaza Strip, including Rafah, added the official.

The Palestinians are "challenging the authorisation already granted for the delivery of anti-tank weapons" and seeking to stop deliveries that have not yet been authorised, the spokeswoman said.

The complaint is directed against the economy ministry, which now has two weeks to respond.

The five Palestinians have all had family members killed in Israeli missile attacks, according to the ECCHR.

The plaintiffs say Berlin is failing to fulfil its obligations under international law, including the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention.

"Germany cannot remain true to its values if it exports weapons to a war in which serious violations of international humanitarian law are evident," said Wolfgang Kaleck, general secretary of the ECCHR.

Germany is the second biggest arms exporter to Israel after the US, accounting for 30 percent of imports between 2019 and 2023, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Last week, Nicaragua hit out at Germany at the UN's top court Monday over its support to Israel, saying it was "pathetic" to give weapons to the Israeli government while simultaneously providing aid in Gaza.

"It is indeed a pathetic excuse to the Palestinian children, women and men to provide humanitarian aid, including through airdrops, on the one hand, and to furnish the military equipment that is used to kill and annihilate them ... on the other hand," Daniel Mueller, a lawyer for Nicaragua, told the court.

Nicaragua asked the ICJ to impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance.

In a 43-page submission to the court, Nicaragua argued that Germany was in breach of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, set up in the wake of the Holocaust.

On Tuesday, Berlin's representatives insisted that Germany supplied arms only "based on detailed scrutiny... that far exceeds the requirements of international law."

Also on Tuesday, Ione Belarra, the former Spanish Minister of Social Rights, urged Germany, along with the US and UK, to end their support for the Israeli campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. 



15:00 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi urged on Thursday the international community to assume its responsibility to stop the military escalation in Gaza over a telephone call with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the Egyptian presidency announced.

According to the presidency, El-Sisi stressed in the call he received from Nehammer that it is important for the international community to protect the people of Gaza from the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

The two leaders also discussed Egyptian efforts to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and allow access to humanitarian aid.

The Egyptian president warned of the extreme danger of continued escalation, including the region's security and stability.

14:00 France on Friday warned its citizens to "imperatively refrain from travel in the coming days to Iran, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories", the foreign minister's entourage told AFP.

France's Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne at a crisis meeting also asked that family members of French diplomats in Iran be evacuated, and no French civil servants be sent on missions to the listed countries.

13:30 Mohammed Al-Rayes, 61, told AFP that he fled Israeli "air strikes and artillery shelling" in Nuseirat, central Gaza overnight.

"It was all fire and destruction, with so many martyrs lying in the street," he said.

Another resident, Laila Nasser, 40, reported "shells and missiles" throughout the night.

"They will do to Nuseirat what they did to Khan Younis," said Nasser, vowing to flee to the southernmost city of Rafah, like most of Gaza's population.

Last week, Israel last week pulled its troops from the devastated city of Khan Younis after months of fighting leaving swathes of death and destruction behind.

Authorities in Gaza on Friday reported dozens of new air strikes in Gaza's central region.

25 people were taken to hospital in Deir Al-Balah city "as a result of an air strike on a house of the al-Tabatibi family."



13:00 Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians in an early morning raid on Friday near the occupied West Bank city of Tubas, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

One man was killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire on his vehicle in Tubas, the report said.

Another Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli gunfire when troops raided Al-Fara refugee camp near Tubas, the agency said.

The Israeli military did not have an immediate comment on the raid.

The area around Tubas in the northern West Bank is a stronghold of Palestinian armed groups and a frequent target of Israeli military incursions.

At least 461 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers across the West Bank since 7 October, according to official Palestinian sources.


Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of Mohammad Shahmawi who was killed during a raid by Israeli forces on April 12, 2024, al-Fara refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. AFP


12:00 The health ministry in Gaza said Friday that at least 33,634 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

The toll includes at least 89 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 76,214 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began on 7 October.

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