Israel accused of firing on Gaza aid convoy as military pushes south

Israel accused of firing on Gaza aid convoy as military pushes south

UNICEF delivers 600,000 vaccine doses for children in GazaCAIRO — UNICEF said that it delivered at least 600,000 doses of vaccines to Gaza on Friday to protect children in the besieged enclave from diseases.

The move comes as illnesses spiral across the territory, which lacks clean water and basic medical supplies.

Few details about the delivery process were made public by UNICEF, which announced the news on the platform X.

The group said that more than 16,800 infants have missed one or more routine vaccines, and that it will work with the WHO and UNRWA to deliver the arriving vaccines.

Israeli officials confirmed the arrival of tens of thousands of vaccines for such diseases as polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis, in coordination with UNICEF.

Biden administration sidesteps Congress again for emergency arms sale to Israel WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has bypassed Congress for the second time this month to provide an emergency arms sale to Israel amid its war with Hamas.

The sale of $147.5 million in equipment such as fuzes, chargers and primers is intended to help the functionality of the U.S. ally’s previous purchase of nearly 14,000 rounds of 155mm shells in early December.

“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to ensure Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives,” the spokesperson added.

Read the full story here.

More than 300 sheltering in UNRWA shelters killed since war began, agency says A United Nations organization tasked with relief for Palestinian refugees said today that at least 308 people sheltering at its shelters have been killed since the war began.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said on X that another 1,095 have been injured.

“Nowhere in Gaza is safe,” it said.

Israel says it takes measures to avoid civilian casualties in its war against Hamas in Gaza, but that Hamas positions itself in civilian areas. Israel has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields.

Also today, UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini called on Israel and others to allow unimpeded access of aid to Gaza, where he said the total 2.2 million residents of Gaza are now almost totally dependent on humanitarian food aid.

“International humanitarian law is very clear: The State of Israel as the occupying power must ensure that the population has access to and is provided with basic services. Likewise, all parties to the conflict must facilitate humanitarian access to all those in need,” he said.

U.N. official: ‘Humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate’UNITED NATIONS — A week after the United Nations Security Council passed a weakened resolution seeking to hasten aid to Gaza, a top U.N. official told the group Friday that humanitarian conditions keep worsening in the besieged enclave.

Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari said “the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate” and reiterated Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire.

Last week’s heavily negotiated and long-delayed resolution called for immediately speeding aid deliveries to civilians in Gaza, but an appeal for an “urgent suspension of hostilities” between Israel and Hamas was taken out.

Khiari said the U.N. will report next week on the implementation of an earlier Security Council resolution, from Nov. 15, that called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in the fighting.

New Jersey man allegedly motivated by Oct. 7 Hamas attack arrested, accused of seeking to join al-Shabab terroristsA New Jersey man, inspired by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, was arrested in Kenya, after allegedly seeking to join terrorist forces in Africa, authorities said Friday.

Karrem Nasr, a 23-year-old Garden State resident and U.S. citizen who also went under the name Ghareeb Al-Muhaji, was taken into custody in Nairobi on Dec. 14 before being taken to the United States on Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

Nasr, “motivated by the heinous terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas” on Oct. 7, “devoted himself to waging violent jihad against America and its allies,” according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Read the full story here.

Drone video shows devastation of Israeli airstrike in Rafah Drone video shows people looking through the rubble and debris of destroyed buildings in Rafah following an Israeli airstrike.

IDF says Israel will continue military pressure throughout GazaIDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said Friday that Israel will continue to exert military pressure on Hamas throughout the north, center and south of Gaza.

“We are acting resolutely in the face of every threat, and we will not allow a return to reality before October 7,” Hagari said. “We will ensure security and a sense of security before we allow citizens to return to the northern border and the southern border.”

South Africa says Israel ‘failed to prevent genocide’ in Gaza and requests start of ICJ proceedingsThe International Court of Justice, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, said today that South Africa has filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel for allegedly violating its obligations to prevent the genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

According to a news release from the ICJ, the application stated that acts by Israel “are genocidal in character” and that Israel’s conduct in Gaza “is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.”

According to the release, the application states that since Oct. 7, Israel has “failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide.”

IDF says it destroyed tunnels containing Hamas ‘headquarters’ in northern GazaThe IDF said it located and destroyed “tunnels of Hamas’ general headquarters” in the northern Gaza Strip.

The IDF said that inside the tunnels it found “an electricity network, ventilation and sewage infrastructure, prayer rooms and resting rooms.”

The military group said that in recent weeks it also located and destroyed a hideout apartment of one the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, near Gaza City. Soldiers examined the apartment and found that “a strategic tunnel shaft was located on the basement floor” and, after inspecting the tunnel shaft, “reached a significant tunnel that is apparently used by the senior officials of Hamas’ Military and Political Wing,” the IDF said.

“The apartment is part of a long and branching tunnel network, in which senior officials of the Hamas terrorist organization moved and operated,” the IDF said. The IDF added that after it was examined, the tunnel was destroyed by soldiers.

U.N.: ‘Spillover’ from Israel-Gaza conflict could have ‘devastating consequences’ for Middle EastThe United Nations today warned about “further spillover” into the Middle East, which could bring “devastating consequences.” In a statement, a spokesman for the secretary-general, Stéphane Dujarric, cited “escalating violence” in the West Bank, intensified by both Israeli security operations and attacks on Israelis by Palestinians. Further, exchanges of fire across the Israel-Lebanon border could escalate and affect regional stability.

The U.N. statement urged all parties involved to “exercise maximum restraint” in an effort to de-escalate tensions and called on the international community to “do everything in their power” to prevent further violence.  » …
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