Israel-Gaza war live: Israel to withdraw some troops from Gaza; IDF says it has killed Hamas commander | Israel-Gaza war

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Israel to withdraw some troops from Gaza to shift to more targeted operations – official

Israel is withdrawing some troops from Gaza to shift to more targeted operations against Hamas, an Israeli official has said.

The official said the withdrawal was focused on reservists – of which Israel drafted 300,000 for the war – and designed to “re-energise the Israeli economy”.

But the official told Reuters that some of the troops pulled out of Gaza in the south would be prepared for rotation to the northern border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah militants have been exchanging fire with Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Israel has warned that if Hezbollah does not back down a full-on Lebanon war looms.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran, whose militant allies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have also been carrying out longer-range attacks against Israel.

“The situation on the Lebanese front will not be allowed to continue. This coming six-month period is a critical moment,” the official said.

Key events

Israel’s supreme court has ruled against a key component of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s judicial overhaul, which challenged the powers of the judiciary.

Reuters reports:

A supreme court statement said eight of 15 justices had ruled against an amendment passed by parliament in July which scraps the “reasonableness” clause, used by the court to overturn government decisions which are deemed unconstitutional.

“This is due to the severe and unprecedented damage to the basic characteristics of the State of Israel as a democratic state,” the statement said.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had argued the sweeping judicial reform package presented a year ago was necessary to rebalance powers between judges and politicians.

But his detractors warn the multi-pronged package paved the way for authoritarian rule and could be used by Netanyahu to quash possible convictions against him, an accusation the premier denies.

Disabled Palestinians are facing life-threatening challenges across the Gaza strip amid deadly Israeli bombardment.

In a video posted onto X on Monday by the World Health Organization, Muhammad Muharram, an internally displaced Palestinian and wheelchair user, speaks of his experiences navigating the war:

The war started and the area where we are staying at got bombed, my house too. We fled to schools like everyone else but the school we fled to was also bombed. During this time, I was terrified because I couldn’t flee like everyone else. I am in a wheelchair. Everyone fled the school and I did too. It was extremely tough for me …

When we got displaced and had to go from Gaza city to the south, [it] was extremely difficult. I almost had a mental breakdown because of the fear I had. I sleep and wake up in the wheelchair. Bathrooms are unusable, pure disaster. The same goes for food and drinking water, it’s a misery. The same goes for treatment. Everything we are going through here is a life of misery.”

Muhammad Muharram is a wheelchair user living in #Gaza. He speaks about the terrors of daily life.

During conflict, people with disabilities face life-threatening challenges—difficulty in evacuating, shelters out of reach, and little access to healthcare and even food, water,… pic.twitter.com/rJ8ZFokXzo

— WHO in occupied Palestinian territory (@WHOoPt) January 1, 2024

Unicef has repeated its calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed nearly 22,000 Palestinians since 7 October, including more than 8,000 children.

In a post on X on Monday, Unicef wrote: “Unicef continues to call for a humanitarian ceasefire,” citing a 12-year old boy in Gaza who said: “I miss life before the war, when I would go to school and meet my friends, and when I would play football in the neighbourhood.”

“I miss life before the war, when I would go to school and meet my friends, and when I would play football in the neighbourhood.”

Salem, 12, in Gaza.

UNICEF continues to call for a humanitarian ceasefire. pic.twitter.com/Qmn4rXS9rx

— UNICEF (@UNICEF) January 1, 2024

The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced the birth of a baby on New Year’s Day at the PRCS medical point in Jabalia, northern Gaza.

“The birth process was successful, utilising minimal available resources. Both the mother and the child are in good health,” the PRCS announced.

🫶This baby was born this morning at the PRCS medical point in #Jabalia, northern #Gaza Strip. The birth process was successful, utilizing minimal available resources.👏Both the mother and the child are in good health.🙏
Photography by: PRCS volunteer, Yousef Khader… pic.twitter.com/q38cKWMBuO

— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) January 1, 2024

In November, the World Health Organization said women and newborns were bearing the brunt of Israel’s war with Gaza, which is severely hindering women’s access to emergency obstetric services. Shortages in fuel as a result of Israel’s attacks on the strip have also threatened the lives of premature babies who rely on neonatal and intensive care services.

The Bank of Israel has lowered its short-term borrowing rates for the first time in nearly four years due to Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza and a weakening economy.

Reuters reports:

Before the decision, analysts were split, with seven expecting no move and seven projecting a 25 basis point reduction, the first reduction since April 2020.

The central bank lowered its benchmark rate by a quarter-point from 4.75% to 4.50%.

It had raised rates 10 straight times in an aggressive tightening cycle that has taken the rate from 0.1% last April before pausing in July and again in August, October and November.

The inflation rate eased to 3.3% in November from 3.7% in October but remained above an annual target range of 1%-3%. The economy is expected to contract in the fourth quarter and end 2023 with growth of 2%.

Summary of the day so far…

  • The Israeli military claims to have killed Adil Mismah, a regional commander of Hamas’s elite Nukhba forces, in the central city of Deir al-Balah. The Israel Defense Forces said Mismah had taken part in Hamas’s 7 October attack against Israel, in which the militant group killed 1,140 people and seized up to another 250 as hostages.

  • A total of 21,978 Palestinians have been killed and 56,697 injured in Israeli strikes in Gaza since 7 October, the health ministry in Gaza has said. The figures include 156 Palestinians killed and 246 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry added.

  • Israeli settlers killed at least 10 Palestinians and set alight dozens of homes in the occupied West Bank in 2023, making it the “most violent” year on record for settler attacks, an Israeli watchdog has said. Numerous West Bank attacks were carried out by a large group of Israeli settlers and the violence rose after Hamas’s 7 October attacks on Israel, said Yesh Din, a human rights group.

  • Israel is withdrawing some troops from Gaza to shift to more targeted operations against Hamas, an Israeli official told Reuters. The official said the withdrawal was focused on reservists – of which Israel drafted 300,000 for the war – and designed to “re-energise the Israeli economy”. The official also said the military was pivoting to the third stage of the war, as Israeli tanks and soldiers have now overrun much of the Gaza Strip. “This will take six months at least, and involve intense mopping-up missions against the terrorists. No one is talking about doves of peace being flown from Shajaia,” the official said, referring to a Gaza district devastated by fighting.

The Qatari foreign ministry says it has evacuated 284 Palestinians who were holders of residency cards of Qatar or neighbouring countries, Al Jazeera reports.

IDF says its troops have killed Hamas commander

The Israeli military claims to have killed Adil Mismah, a regional commander of Hamas’ elite Nukhba forces, in the central city of Deir al-Balah.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Mismah had taken part in Hamas’s 7 October attack against Israel, in which the militant group killed 1,140 people and seized up to another 250 as hostages.

In its post on X, the IDF also wrote that its soldiers had struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza city area of Shejaiya, claiming to have “located large amounts of weapons” there.

IDF troops continue operating in Gaza:

🔺ELIMINATED: Adil Mismah, the Nukhba Company Commander of Deir al-Balah who took part in Hamas’ October 7 invasion and massacre and attack on other communities surrounding Gaza.

🔺In Shejaiya, troops struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror…

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) January 1, 2024

Reuters has more on Iran’s Alborz warship reportedly entering the Red Sea (see post at 11.56 for more details).

There were unconfirmed reports on social media that the warship entered the Red Sea via the Bab al-Mandab Strait late on Saturday.

The Alvand class destroyer had been a part of the Iranian navy’s 34th fleet, alongside the Bushehr support vessel, and patrolled the Gulf of Aden, the north of the Indian Ocean and the Bab Al-Mandab Strait as far back as 2015, according to Iran’s Press TV.

Iran’s defence minister has recently said in reference to the Red Sea that “nobody can make a move in a region where we have predominance”.

Fighting will continue throughout 2024, Israel warns, as unrelenting strikes killed dozens in Gaza and Hamas fired a rocket barrage at the stroke of midnight.

An Israeli official said earlier on Monday the third stage of the war, which appears now to be opening, will take at least six months. Now, Agence France-Presse (AFP) quotes the country’s military spokesman Daniel Hagari as saying the conflict will not be drawn to a close this year. He says some of the 300,000 army reservists will get a break, but only to prepare for the “prolonged fighting” ahead.

The army “must plan ahead, understanding that we will be required for additional tasks and warfare throughout this year”, AFP quotes Hagari as saying.

Citing officials from the Hamas-run health ministry, the agency reports that heavy artillery fire has again pounded Gaza, killing at least 24 people, with attacks reported across the length of the territory.

A Gaza resident, 20-year-old Hamdan Abu Arab, told the agency he hoped “2024 will be better”. He said:

We used to go out and enjoy our time on the last day of the year. But this New Year’s Eve, there are only missiles and the remains of people.

According to the health ministry, 15 dead bodies from the same family were recovered on Monday from the rubble of a bombed house in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, AFP says. Sami Hamouda, 64, told AFP:

It’s the worst year of our lives. They have killed our sons. Every new day is like the previous one: bombings, death and mass killings.

According to the agency, Hamas marked the start of the year by firing a rocket barrage at Israel in what it called a “response to the massacres of civilians”. Its journalists in Tel Aviv witnessed missile defence systems intercept rockets overhead as some revellers ran for cover and others kept up the party with a shrug. Gabriel Zemelman, 26, told AFP reporters:

My heart was pounding. It’s terrifying. You just saw the life we live, it’s crazy.

Death toll in Gaza reaches 21,978, says health ministry

A total of 21,978 Palestinians have been killed and 56,697 injured in Israeli strikes in Gaza since 7 October, the health ministry in Gaza says. The figures include 156 Palestinians killed and 246 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry adds.





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