Palestinian children injured in Israeli attacks on Nuseirat receive medical treatment at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza. / Photo: AA

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

16:36 GMT — The World Bank says Israel's war on Gaza has caused damage of around $18.5 billion to the enclave's critical infrastructure, according to a new report.

This is equivalent to 97 percent of the combined economic output of the occupied West Bank and Gaza in 2022, the World Bank said in its interim damage assessment.

18:20 GMT — US had 'nothing to do' with Iran consulate strike in Syria: W.House

The United States had no involvement in an air strike on Iran's consular annexe building in the Syrian capital Damascus that Tehran blamed on Israel, the White House has said.

"We had nothing to do with the strike in Damascus, we weren't involved in any way whatsoever," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told a briefing.

Kirby dismissed as "nonsense" comments by Iran's foreign minister that the United States, Israel's main backer, bore responsibility for the attack which killed seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

18:06 GMT — Biden says aid staff 'must be protected' after deadly Israel strike: W.House

US President Joe Biden has called celebrity chef Jose Andres to express his condolences after an Israeli strike killed seven aid workers from his World Central Kitchen group in Gaza, the White House said.

Biden told Andres he was "heartbroken" and "conveyed he will make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing.

17:22 GMT — Nearly 200 aid workers killed since October in occupied Palestine: UN

The UN has said that "at least 196 humanitarian workers have been killed since October” in Gaza following the recent killings of aid workers.

Describing the Palestinian territory as "one of the world's most dangerous and difficult place to work" as a humanitarian aid worker, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric at a news conference reaffirmed that all attacks against health care workers and militarization of hospitals are "unacceptable."

He stressed that hospitals need to be protected for civilians to receive the life-saving aid they may need.

16:27 GMT — UAE pausing aid through maritime corridor pending investigation: UAE official

The United Arab Emirates is pausing humanitarian aid efforts through the maritime corridor pending further safety guarantees and a full investigation, a UAE official has said.

An Israeli strike killed seven people working for the World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid group in Gaza on Monday.

The UAE has been the main financier for aid through a maritime corridor to Gaza and WCK had arranged the missions.

15:28 GMT — UK summons Israeli ambassador after three British aid workers killed in Gaza

The UK has said it had summoned Israel's ambassador in London to hear its "unequivocal condemnation" of the killing of three British and four other staff of a food charity in a Gaza missile strike.

"I requested a quick and transparent investigation, shared with the international community, and full accountability," junior foreign minister Andrew Mitchell said in a statement issued after the meeting.

15:04 GMT — Türkiye condemns Israeli strike on Iran in Syria, warns of regional conflict

Türkiye has condemned what it called an Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus and warned that the incident could lead to a wider conflict in the region.

The foreign ministry said the attack was a violation of international law by Israel, of which it has been harshly critical over its assault on Gaza. It called for restraint, common sense and respect for laws from all parties.

14:58 GMT — UN 'outraged' by 'indefensible' killing of aid workers in Gaza

The UN relief chief has said that he is "outraged" by the killing of seven members of the US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza.

"Outraged by the killing of World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza," said Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

"They were heroes, killed while trying to feed starving people," Griffiths said on X, expressing his condolences to their families and colleagues.

"All this talk about ceasefires, and still this war steals the best of us. The actions of those behind it are indefensible," he said and urged: "This must stop."

14:50 GMT — UN chief condemns strike on Iran consulate in Syria

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned a strike on an Iranian consular annexe building in Syria one day earlier, his spokesman said, after the attack - which Tehran has blamed on Israel - killed at least 13 people.

"The Secretary-General reaffirms that the principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

14:30 GMT — US urges 'swift, impartial investigation' into Israeli strike on aid workers: Blinken

The United States has urged an impartial investigation into an Israeli strike in Gaza that killed seven staff of US-based charity World Central Kitchen, saying Israel should do more to protect civilians.

The US urges "a swift, thorough and impartial investigation to understand exactly what happened", US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Paris.

"What we have impressed upon the Israelis is to do more to protect innocent civilian lives, be they innocent Palestinian children or aid workers."

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. / Photo: AP

12:55 GMT — Netanyahu admits Israeli strike killed Gaza aid workers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged the death of seven aid workers in an army attack in Gaza.

Seven aid workers with the US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli attack in central Gaza on Monday.

Netanyahu said the death of the humanitarian aid workers was “an unintentional killing of innocents” and will be investigated, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

“This happens in war, we are thoroughly investigating it, we are in contact with the relevant parties and will do everything to ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again,” Netanyahu added after he was discharged from hospital where he underwent surgery for a hernia earlier this week.

12:31 GMT — Iran’s Khamenei says Israel ‘will be punished’ for Syria consulate attack

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has vowed that Israel “will be punished” for an attack on the Iranian Consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus, that killed seven military officers, including a top commander.

Khamenei said the “evil regime” will be “punished at the hands of our brave men,” adding that the Iranian military will make Israel “regret the crime.”

Seven officers of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) were killed in a missile strike on Monday that targeted a building housing the consular affairs section of the Iranian Embassy.

12:11 GMT — Israeli strike caused killing of Gaza aid workers, military says

Israel's military has said one of its strikes in Gaza caused the killing of seven people working for the World Central Kitchen aid group, and that its top general would review the findings of a preliminary inquiry.

"The tragic incident last night occurred as a result of an IDF strike and we are investigating the circumstances," a military statement said.

11:27 GMT — Israel says new Gaza truce proposal drafted in Cairo talks

Israeli negotiators will return from talks in Cairo after a new proposal for a Gaza truce and hostage release was drafted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has said.

"As part of the talks, with the helpful mediation of Egypt, the mediators formulated an up-to-date proposal to be addressed by Hamas," his office said.

11:14 GMT — Israel operating 'all over Middle East' against foes, defence chief says

Israel is operating all over the Middle East to exact a price from those who threaten it, the country's defence minister has said, though he did not refer directly to a suspected Israeli strike against a group of Iranian officers in Damascus.

"We are currently in a multi-front war – we see evidence of this every day, including over the last few days," Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told a parliamentary committee, according to a statement from his office.

"We operate everywhere, every day, in order to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and in order to make it clear to anyone who threatens us – all over the Middle East – that the price for such action will be a big one."

10:55 GMT — WHO reports sharp rise in newborn deaths in Gaza

Newborn mortality is rising sharply in Gaza, with babies being born underweight, the World Health Organization has said, citing medics on the ground.

"From different doctors, particularly in the maternity hospitals, they're reporting that they're seeing a big rise in children born with low birth weight, and just not surviving the neonatal period because they're born too small," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said at a briefing in Geneva.

She said that at Kamal Adwan, the only paediatric hospital in northern Gaza, "at least 15 malnourished children are coming in per day, and the needs are just getting ever more severe".

10:02 GMT — UN agency chief: Gaza situation 'beyond catastrophic'

Dominic Allen, the head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) covering Gaza, has said he was "terrified" of what could happen if the war went on any longer.

He told AFP the situation was "beyond catastrophic" with gaunt and starving people spending their days searching for food, and medicine running desperately low.

The British-born official, who spent a week in the besieged Palestinian territory last month, said even when aid got through the border, there were still major problems getting it to those who need it most, particularly women and girls.

09:57 GMT — UK urges 'full, transparent explanation' into deadly Gaza strike on aid workers

Foreign Secretary David Cameron has said that the UK had urged Israel to "provide a full, transparent explanation" about an air strike that killed seven aid workers, including at least one Briton, in Gaza.

"We have called on Israel to immediately investigate and provide a full, transparent explanation of what happened," Cameron said on social media, adding the UK was "urgently working to verify" details about the incident.

09:49 GMT — Palestinian death toll reaches 32,916: ministry

The health ministry in Gaza said at least 32,916 Palestinians have been killed in the territory during more than five months of Israeli invasion.

The toll includes at least 71 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 75,494 people have been wounded in the besieged Gaza since Israel began its war in October last year.

09:01 GMT — Israeli military says independent group will investigate the death of Gaza aid workers

Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the deaths of seven people working for the World Central Kitchen would be investigated in the "Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism," which his statement called an "independent, professional, and expert body" without giving details.

He said he had spoken to the WCK founder, Chef Jose Anders and expressed deepest condolences.

08:53 GMT — Al-Shifa destruction 'rips heart out' of Gaza health system

The destruction of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza amounted to "ripping the heart out" of the health system of the war-scarred Palestinian enclave, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

"Destroying al-Shifa means ripping the heart out of the health system," said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris .

"It was the place people go to for the kind of care that a really good health system provides, that we in all our societies expect to have should we be in need."

Israeli occupation forces left al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Monday after a two-week raid by the military and left a wasteland of destroyed buildings.

08:37 GMT — Hamas says no to international peacekeeping force in Gaza

Palestinian resistance group Hamas rejected the idea of a peacekeeping force in Gaza to monitor any future ceasefire agreement with Israel.

"We stress our people's rejection of the presence of any non-Palestinian actors on our land," Izzat al Rishq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said in a statement.

The remarks came after it was suggested that the group approved the presence of an international peacekeeping force to monitor truce and delivery of humanitarian aid in the besieged enclave.

06:24 GMT — $35M aid to be delivered in Gaza as Japan ends bar on UNRWA funding

Japan's top diplomat has announced to resume funding to the UN agency for refugees in Palestine, or the UNRWA, Kyodo news agency reported.

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said $35 million of the originally planned funding will be released.

"The humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territory of Gaza continues to worsen. It is our country's responsibility to respond to the crisis as a member of the UN Security Council," she said.

05:34 GMT — Seven aid workers killed in Israeli strike in Gaza: World Central Kitchen

The World Central Kitchen (WCK) has confirmed that its seven humanitarian aid workers were killed in Monday's Israeli strike in Gaza.

"The WCK team was travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle," the WCK said in a statement.

Despite coordinating movements with the Israeli army, it added that the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.

"This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable," said World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore.

Badges on a jacket read "World Central Kitchen" in Deir al Balah. / Photo: Reuters

03:18 GMT — US 'heartbroken' after Israeli strike kills aid workers

The White House said it was "heartbroken" after several people working for World Central Kitchen, a US-based aid organisation, were killed in an Israeli military strike in Gaza.

"We are heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike," National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson wrote on social media platform X.

Watson added that "humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened."

03:23 GMT — US, Jordan conduct humanitarian aid airdrop in Gaza

The US and Jordan conducted additional humanitarian aid air drops into Gaza.

"US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Northern Gaza on April 1, 2024, at 12:16 p.m. (Gaza time) to provide essential relief to civilians in Gaza affected by the ongoing conflict," US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on X.

The operation included Jordan providing food and three US Air Force C-130 aircraft, it said, adding the C-130 aircraft dropped 25,344 meal equivalents including rice, flour, milk, pasta and canned food, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance.

03:07 GMT — Australian PM confirms aid worker killed in Gaza strike was Australian national

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed one of several aid workers killed in a strike on Gaza was an Australian national.

Albanese said volunteer Zomi Frankcom had been doing "extraordinarily valuable work" helping distribute food in the besieged Gaza.

The Australian prime minister added that Canberra would "seek full and proper accountability."

04:21 GMT — Israel targets Gaza aid group, killing multiple foreign staffers

Five people working for an aid organisation, including four foreigners, have been killed by Israel in an air strike on their vehicle in Deir al Balah city in central Gaza, local authorities said.

"Israel struck a foreign team that consists of British, Polish and Australian nationals and another nationality still not identified, in addition to a Palestinian from Gaza," said Ismail Thawabteh, the director of the Government Media Office, at a press conference.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the vehicle belonged to World Central Kitchen (WCK), a US-based aid organisation founded by celebrity humanitarian-chef Jose Andres.

03:40 GMT — Israel, US discuss Rafah invasion

The United States has said that it had expressed concerns to Israel about its planned invasion in Rafah in besieged Gaza, and that Israel had pledged to "take these concerns into account."

The two sides had a "constructive engagement on Rafah" during the videoconference meeting, attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the White House said in a statement.

"The US side expressed its concerns with various courses of action in Rafah. The Israeli side agreed to take these concerns into account and to have follow-up discussions," the statement added.

03:13 GMT — Al Jazeera condemns 'dangerous' Israel action against network

Al Jazeera has condemned what it called "dangerous" moves by the Israeli government to ban the Qatar-based news channel amid a long-running battle over its reporting intensified by coverage of Tel Aviv's genocide in besieged Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will use new powers to stop Al Jazeera being shown in Israel, calling it a "terrorist channel".

In response, Al Jazeera said it "condemns these statements and sees [them] as nothing but a dangerous ludicrous lie".

02:27 GMT — France seeks UNSC resolution for Gaza truce monitoring

France has proposed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that seeks options for possible UN monitoring of a ceasefire in besieged Gaza and proposals to help the Palestinian Authority assume responsibilities.

"It's an ambitious project. It will take time," French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said of the text, which will need at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the four other permanent members: the United States, Britain, Russia and China.

The draft resolution, seen by the Reuters news agency, also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all captives still held in Gaza.

02:00 GMT — Russia slams 'unacceptable' Israeli strike on Syria

Moscow has accused Israel of carrying out an "unacceptable" attack on a diplomatic building in Syria that destroyed the Iranian embassy's consular annexe in Damascus.

"On the evening of April 1, the Israeli Air Force struck the Iranian consulate building in Damascus," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We strongly condemn this unacceptable attack against the Iranian consular mission in Syria."

For our live updates from Monday, April 1, click here.

TRT Afrika and agencies