Israel has destroyed residential and public utility infrastructure in Gaza since October 7, 2023. / Photo: AA     

Friday, June 21, 2024

0937 GMT — The "pause" that the Israeli military had declared in Gaza to facilitate aid flows has had no impact on deliveries of the badly-needed aid, the UN's health agency has said.

"So overall, we the UN can say that we did not see an impact on the humanitarian supplies coming in since that, I will say, unilateral announcement of this technical pause", said Richard Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization representative in the Palestinian territories.

"That is the overall assessment".

1047 GMT — Intense heat in Gaza could worsen health crisis for Palestinians, WHO warns

The World Health Organization has warned that scorching heat in Gaza could exacerbate health problems for Palestinians displaced by Israeli bombardment.

The World Food Programme has warned that a massive public health crisis is looming in Gaza due to the lack of clean water, food and medical supplies.

"We've seen massive displacement over the last weeks and months, and we know that combination and the heat can cause a rise in diseases," said Richard Peeperkorn, WHO's representative for Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

"We have water contamination because of hot water, and we will have much more food spoilage because of the high temperature. We will get insect mosquitoes and flies, dehydration, heat stroke."

1044 GMT — Israel summons Armenian envoy over Palestinian recognition

Israel has summoned the Armenian ambassador for a "harsh reprimand conversation" after the former Soviet republic said it recognised the state of Palestine.

"Following Armenia's recognition of a Palestinian state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Ambassador of Armenia to Israel for a harsh reprimand conversation," the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement.

Earlier on Friday, Armenia said it recognised the state of Palestine, the latest country to do so during the war in Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians since last October.

0956 GMT — Russian foreign minister says Israeli actions pushed settlement with Palestine far back

Israel has pushed the settlement with Palestine far back by its actions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Speaking at a news conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Lavrov said Moscow cannot accept the methods that the Israeli troops are using during their military attacks.

"In reality, the destruction of civilians is happening, and most importantly, if we abstract from today's humanitarian tragedy, the most important thing is that these (Israeli) actions further delay the prospect of sustainable long-term peace in the Middle East through the creation of a Palestinian state in full accordance with UN decisions," he noted.

Lavrov emphasised that the instability in the Middle East in general directly impacts not only the adjacent territories, but that the militants also flee the region in the direction of areas neighbouring Russia - Central Asia and the Caucasus.

0848 GMT — 42% of Israelis prefer Benny Gantz as prime minister: Poll

An opinion poll in Israel has revealed that if elections were held today, Benny Gantz, leader of the opposition National Unity Party, would surpass Benjamin Netanyahu for the position of prime minister.

According to a poll by the Israeli daily Maariv, only 35 percent of respondents believe Netanyahu is fit for the position of prime minister, while 42 percent prefer Gantz, a former member of the country's emergency unity government.

The results of the Lazar Institute poll also showed that 23 percent of the random sample of 510 Israelis had no answer for their choice of premier.

0717 GMT — Israeli strike kills several Palestinians in southern Gaza

At least three Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike in the city of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, the Wafa news agency has reported.

Yassin Muhammad al-Amour, Mahmoud Adel al-Najjar, and his son Adel were killed in the attack on the town of al Fukhari.

Several others were also injured in Israeli raids targeting two homes in the a Tuffah and al Shujaiya neighbourhoods.

Israeli forces also shelled the Zeitoun neighbourhood, northern areas of the Nuseirat camp, multiple areas of Deir al Balah, the town of Al-Masdar, and the Maghazi camp.

0650 GMT — Two more Israeli soldiers killed in central Gaza battles

The Israeli army has announced the killing of two more soldiers during battles in central Gaza.

In a statement, the army identified the soldiers as Maj. Omer Smadga, 25, and Maj. Gen. Saadia Yaakov Dery, 27.

The military said at least five soldiers were also injured, three of them seriously.

According to Israeli military figures, at least 664 soldiers have been killed and 3,871 others injured since the outbreak of the war on Gaza on October 7, 2023.

0300 GMT — US urges Israel to avoid escalation with Lebanon's Hezbollah

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Israeli officials of the importance to avoid further escalation with Lebanon and Hezbollah.

Blinken met with Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, the State Department said in a statement.

Reiterating the US' "ironclad commitment" to Israel's security, Blinken discussed ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and secure the release of all hostages.

"The Secretary emphasised the need to take additional steps to surge humanitarian aid into Gaza and plan for post-conflict governance, security and reconstruction," it added.

0015 GMT — Public back-and-forth between US, Israel not 'productive': US

The State Department has said that a public back-and-forth between the US and Israel is not "productive" after the Israeli prime minister responded to the White House's rebuke of his remarks on withholding weapons deliveries.

The White House slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying his "incorrect" claims that the US is withholding weapons deliveries are "vexing" the administration.

2330 GMT — Multiple casualties as Israeli warplanes bomb Gaza home

An Israeli air strike on Zaytoun neighbourhood in the city of Gaza has killed at least eight Palestinians and wounded many others, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

WAFA's correspondent in the area said that Israeli warplanes targeted a house in the neighbourhood, killing eight people and wounding others.

The fatalities and casualties were rushed to al-Ahli Arab Hospital, known as al-Ma‘madani, in the city, WAFA reported.

2302 GMT — Jordan calls for punitive measures against Israel

Jordan has called on the international community to act without delay to stop Israel from committing more war crimes in besieged Gaza and to lift its "inhumane blockade" on the enclave.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made the remarks during a phone call with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, according to a statement by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

The statement said that Safadi urged the international community "to act immediately to halt the war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people and to lift its inhumane blockade on Gaza."

He stressed that these actions are necessary "to protect the Palestinian people from massacres and starvation and to uphold international law and humanitarian values that Israel continues to violate with impunity."

2143 GMT — Netanyahu's comments over weapon deliveries 'vexing': US

New tensions have emerged this week between President Joe Biden's administration and hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Israeli premier's criticism of US weapons deliveries — comments the White House described as "vexing" and "disappointing."

The issue began when Netanyahu claimed in a video posted on social media earlier this week that the US administration — Israel's main military backer — has been "withholding weapons and ammunitions" from his country in recent months.

"Those comments were deeply disappointing and certainly vexing to us, given the amount of support that we have and will continue to provide," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told journalists.

"No other country is doing more to help Israel defend itself against the threat by Hamas and, quite frankly, other threats that they're facing in the region," Kirby said.

But Netanyahu appeared to double down, saying in a statement that he is "prepared to suffer personal attacks provided that Israel receives the ammunition from the US that it needs in the war for its existence."

2137 GMT — Greek Cypriot admin vows not to support Israel in war with Hezbollah

The Greek Cypriot administration has pledged not to provide logistical support to Israel in a potential war against the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

The announcement comes a day after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned the administration against allowing Israel to use its bases in the event of a wider war.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib discussed the issue in a phone call with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Constantinos Kombos, state news agency NNA reported.

Bou Habib expressed confidence in the Greek Cypriot administration's positive role in maintaining regional stability.

Kombos said the Greek Cypriot administration does not wish to be involved in a regional war, underlining their stance of non-involvement.

Nasrallah said supporting Israel in case of war would make the Greek Cypriot administration a party to the war, and "Hezbollah would treat it accordingly."

2109 GMT — Israel kills Palestinian journalist in Gaza, brings media worker toll to 152

Israeli military has killed a journalist in besieged Gaza, bringing the total number of Palestinian media workers' deaths since October 7 to 152.

The Government Media Office in Gaza identified the victim as Salim Al-Sharafa, who worked as a presenter and journalist for local broadcaster Al-Aqsa TV.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the war in Gaza has become "the deadliest for journalists" since it began documenting journalist killings worldwide in 1992.

1811 GMT — Blinken to discuss Gaza ceasefire with Israeli officials

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss ongoing work on a deal for a besieged Gaza ceasefire and the release of hostages in a meeting with Israeli officials, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

Blinken will also discuss the situation along Israel's border with Lebanon in the meeting with Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Miller told reporters.

For our live updates from Thursday, June 20, 2024, click here.

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