May 24, 2024 Israel-Hamas war (2024)

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7:24 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

International pressure on Israel ramps up after top UN court orders operations to halt in Rafah. What to know

From CNN staff

The United Nations' top court on Friday ordered Israel to stop its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah — something Israel has signaled it will not do.

The order, which calls on Israel to submit a progress report within a month, further increases international pressure on Israel over its handling of the war with Hamas.

The order was condemned by Israeli officials.

Here's what else to know:

  • ICJ ruling:TheInternational Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to immediately halt its controversial military operation in Rafah after South Africa filed an urgent request on May 10 for additional measures in its genocide case against Israel, accusing it of using forced evacuation orders to "endanger rather than protect civilian life." Catch up on what we know here.
  • Reaction: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a call with his war cabinet after the order was announced. In a joint statement, the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Israel “has not carried out and will not carry out military activity in the Rafah area that creates living conditions that could lead to the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population.” South Africa praised the ruling, with Zane Dangor, the director of its department for international relations, calling it a “de facto” call for a ceasefire. Hamas also approved the court’s decision.
  • Hostage deal talks: An Israeli delegation will travel to Paris soon, an Israeli official told CNN. That's where the latest ceasefire talks are taking place, a US official told CNN, though the Israeli official did not confirm the exact reason for the trip. It comes as CIA Director Bill Burnswas in Europe to try to get the ceasefire and hostage deal back on track. US President Joe Biden also spoke with his Egyptian counterparton Friday.
  • Military operations in northern Gaza: At least five Palestinians were killed on Thursday by an Israeli airstrike on al-Zaytoun, in Gaza City, according to local officials. Further north, two “huge airstrikes” hit Jabalya on Friday, a spokesperson for Gaza’s civil defense said. Footageposted onlineshowed entire walls blasted from the shelling of the Falluja block in the Jabalya camp. At least 57 people were killed across Gaza in the past 24 hours, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said.
  • Hostages found in Gaza:The Israel Defense Forces and the ISA, Israel's domestic security agency, said they identified the bodies ofthree hostages— Hanan Yablonka, 42, Michel Nisenbaum, 59 and French-Mexican national Orion Hernandez-Radoux, 30 — in Jabalya. They were killed by Hamas in the October 7 attacks and their bodies were carried into the enclave, according to the military.
  • Humanitarian aid: French President Emmanuel Macron discussed potential ways to reopen all land crossings into Gaza with visiting Arab foreign ministersto ensure the flow of much-needed humanitarian aid, his government said Friday. The foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were in Paris for talks on the situation in Gaza.
5:33 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

UN Security Council calls for better protection of humanitarian workers in Gaza

From CNN's Richard Roth, Jeremy Diamond and Eyad Kourdi

The 15-member United Nations Security Council, led by Switzerland and supported by over 90 nations, passed a resolution Friday emphasizing the need for increased safety and security of humanitarian workers in Gaza, particularly those who were recruited locally and face significant risks.

The resolution, adopted by 14 countries with Russia abstaining, expresses "deep concern" about the aid workers' vulnerability and urges "concerted efforts and concrete risk mitigation strategies."

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths welcomed the decision and highlighted the severe impact of Israel's military operations in the southernmost Gaza city of Rafah.

“The ground incursion in Rafah has displaced more than 800,000 people, fleeing once again in fear for their lives and arriving in areas without adequate shelter, latrines, and clean water,” Griffiths said in a written statement Friday.

“With today’s adoption of Security Council Resolution 2730 calling for the protection of humanitarian workers and the International Court of Justice’s order to open the Rafah crossing to provide aid at scale and stop the military offensive there, this is a moment of clarity,” Griffiths added, alluding to a Friday ruling from the world court.

6:53 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

Staff from hospital in northern Gaza refuse to leave remaining patients despite Israeli military activity

From CNN's Kareem Khadder, Sarah El Sirgany, Abdel Qadder Sabbah and Sana Noor Haq

May 24, 2024 Israel-Hamas war (1)

Two of the remaining hospitals in northern Gaza remain under Israeli siege, according to staff from the medical centers.

On Friday morning, Israeli military vehicles at the northern gate of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia prevented ambulances from reaching the hospital, according to the remaining medical staff inside.

The medical center has been providing basic services for a couple of days, the staff said. Due to strikes atthe hospital earlier this week, patients from Kamal Adwan Hospital were transferred out of the facility for care, according to the staff.

The Israeli military forced mostmedical staff at Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalya to leave on May 22, according to the hospital's director. Dr. Mohammed Salha warned on Friday he and other colleagues were still insidethe facility because they could not leave 11 vulnerable patients and two of their companions.

"They forced the staff and other patients and their companions to evacuate. But I insisted to stay with them, I can’t leave the patients in the hospital without taking care of them or without ambulances to pick them up," Salha said in a message shared with CNN by a colleague.

The latest death toll: At least 57 people were killed across Gaza in the past 24 hours, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said on Friday. At least 35,857 have been killed in Gaza since the October 7 attack, according to the ministry, with 80,293 more injured.

CNN cannot verify the ministry’s numbers due to lack of international media access to the strip.

2:59 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

International leaders react to ICJ order for Israel to halt military operations in Rafah

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Kareem Khadder

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to immediately cease its controversial military operations in Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip.

The ruling has drawn reaction from governments and agencies around the globe:

  • Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it "welcomes the decision."
  • Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the ICJ move "exposes Israel’s war crimes in Gaza." He said in a statement that "the Israeli Government reacts with disdain to international law, refusing to heed the Court’s orders. The Security Council must shoulder its responsibility, put an end to Israel’s impunity, and address double standards in enforcing international law.”
  • The Egyptian Foreign Ministrycalled on Israel to commit to its obligations under The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  • Human Rights Watch said "the ICJ's order underlines the gravity of the situation in Gaza, where civilians are facing famine. Yet the Israeli government continues to flout the World Court’s binding orders by obstructing the entry of lifesaving aid and services.”
  • Amnesty International said "Israel must comply" with the order, in a statement from the group's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Heba Morayef.
  • Palestinian National Initiative's Secretary General Mustafa Barghouti called for sanctions to be imposed immediately on Israel "to force it to implement the decisions of international courts and to allow the International Court of Justice investigation team to investigate the crime of genocide."
2:16 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

Israel says it has not carried out actions in Rafah that could lead to the destruction of Palestinian population

From CNN's Lauren Izso and Catherine Nicholls

Israel has not and will not carry out military activity in Rafah "that creates living conditions that could lead to the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population," a joint statement by the country's National Security Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

The statement follows a ruling by the InternationalCourt of Justice (ICJ) that ordered Israel to "immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

The order was read out after a request by South Africa, which has accused Israel of conducting genocide in Gaza.

The Israeli statement called these accusations "false, outrageous, and disgusting." It claimed that Israel's actions in Gaza are part of a "just defensive war to eliminate the Hamas organization and free our hostages" following the October 7 terror attack.

In response to other orders by the ICJ, including keeping the Rafah border crossing open, the statement said that Israel will "continue its efforts to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip" and "reduce as much as possible the harm to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip."

Remember: More than a million Palestinians — many displaced by Israel's military campaign elsewhere in Gaza — were taking shelter in Rafah before Israeli forces began their operation in the southernmost city. Gazans say they have nowhere left to go.

Meanwhile, Israel's closure of the Rafah border crossing has deepened its already tight siege on desperately needed food and humanitarian aid.

3:51 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

Biden and Egyptian president agree to send aid through Kerem Shalom crossing temporarily

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali

May 24, 2024 Israel-Hamas war (2)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and US President Joe Biden agreed to facilitate humanitarian aid and fuel delivery to the United Nations at the Kerem Shalom crossing on a temporary basis until a legal mechanism is established to reopen the Rafah border crossing into Gaza from the Palestinian side, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

In a phone call Friday, Biden expressed appreciation for Egypt's efforts aimed at reaching a ceasefire and truce agreement, according to the statement.

A White House readout said Biden also welcomed Egypt's commitment. "This will help save lives," the statement said.

Both leaders underscored the necessity of intensifying international efforts to achieve a breakthrough in negotiations, the Egyptian presidency said.

Biden also agreed to send a senior team to Cairo next week for further discussions on efforts to reopen the Rafah crossing.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez contributed reporting to this post.

1:57 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

Israel claims destruction at West Bank refugee camp was due to "terrorist organizations" operating there

From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq and Larry Register

May 24, 2024 Israel-Hamas war (3)

Israel has responded to comments from the head of a United Nations agency highlighting destruction in the West Bank, claiming it encountered ammunition stockpiles and roadside explosives in the devastated refugee camp of Nour Shams.

The Israel Defense Forces said it dismantled dozens of explosives and found "noteworthy stockpiles of life-threatening ammunition" in civilian buildings at Nour Shams. The IDF also claimed "terrorist operatives and organized terrorist forces"in West Bank refugee camps operate out of civilian buildings and use civilian infrastructure.

The military blamed the damage to civilian infrastructure on the "terror organization's exploitation" of those buildings, and claimed it tried to keep damage "to the bare minimum."

What the UN agency said: Philippe Lazzarini, who leads the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said his staff described intense destruction after visiting the refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank.

"What was once a bustling area with markets and life lays in destruction now," Lazzarinisaid. He said buildings and roads are destroyed, and water and electricity networks are dismantled following the IDF operation.

The agency head said "another war goes unnoticed" in the West Bank, as focus remains on the Israeli bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza.

More background: Violence and destruction by extremist settlers and the IDF in the West Bank — long a reality for Palestinians in the occupied territory — has surged during the current war in Gaza.

Israeli troops or settlers have killed at least 518 Palestinians, including 129 children, in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

CNN's Kareem Khadder and Sana Noor Haq contributed reporting to this post.

1:27 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

At least 5 Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza City neighborhood, according to local authorities

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder, Sarah El Sirgany, Abdel Qadder Sabbah and Sana Noor Haq

At least five Palestinians were killed on Thursday by an Israeli airstrike on al-Zaytoun, in Gaza City, according to local officials.

Several other people were injured by the assault on the northern Gaza neighborhood, which struck just before midnight, the spokesperson for Gaza’s Civil Defense told CNN. One child is still unaccounted for, Mahmoud Bassal said.CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for comment.

Further north, two “huge airstrikes” hit Jabalya at around 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. local timeon Friday,Bassal said. The Israel Defense Forces said it launched an “operation” with “intense combat” in Jabalya overnight, claiming to have "eliminated dozens of terrorists."

The IDF and the ISA, Israel's domestic security agency, said Friday they recovered the bodies ofthree hostagestaken by Hamas, in Jabalya.

Scene on the ground: Gaza's Civil Defense teams could not reach the area, according to Bassal. Israel's offensive in the enclave has razed neighborhoods and batteredkey roadsrendering parts ofthe northlargely inaccessible to local crews and humanitarian agencies trying to aid Palestinians.

A CNN stringer on the ground filmed dozens of people fleeing a school-turned-shelter in the Falluja neighborhood, west of Jabalya. Other footageposted onlineof the aftermath showed entire walls blasted from the shell of the Falluja block in the Jabalya camp.

The makeshift medical unit in the area was receiving the dead and the injured, but the staff there are only able to provide advanced first aid. Two of the remaining hospitals in the north are under Israeli siege.

Benjamin Brown contributed reporting to this post.

1:03 p.m. ET, May 24, 2024

CIA director meeting with Israeli and Qatari officials Friday

From CNN's Alex Marquardt

CIA Director Bill Burns is meeting with Mossad Director David Barnea and the Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al Thani on Friday, according to a US official.

The latest ceasefire talks are taking place in Paris, a second official familiar with the discussions tells CNN.

It is unclear whether the head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, will participate in the meeting, as he has in the past.The “quad,” as it’s known, has previously met in Paris.

Some background: This week, Egypt threatened to withdraw from acting as a mediator in the ceasefire and hostage talks followingCNN reporting that Egyptian intelligence quietly changed the terms of a ceasefireproposal that Israel had already signed off on earlier this month.

“The ongoing attempts to cast doubt and insult the Egyptian mediation efforts and roles, with allegations that contradict reality, will only lead to further complicating the situation in Gaza and the entire region, and may push the Egyptian side to take a decision to withdraw completely from their mediation role in the current conflict,” the head of Egypt’s State Information Services,DiaaRashwan, previously said in a statement.

The same US official on Thursday emphasized that Egypt is still involved, saying, “Both Egypt and Qatar are very engaged, as are the Israelis.”

US President Joe Biden is also speaking with his Egyptian counterpart on Friday, according to a source.

May 24, 2024 Israel-Hamas war (2024)
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