Middle East crisis live: 21 Israeli soldiers killed in single Gaza attack; Houthis warn fresh US-UK strikes will be met with ‘response’ | World news

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IDF increases soldier death toll to 21 in past 24 hours

Israel’s army has revised up its death toll and says a total of 21 soldiers were killed in an attack in central Gaza in the last 24 hours.

It makes it the largest single loss of life for the Israeli military since the war began.

Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesperson, made the announcement on Tuesday, updating an earlier toll.

He said the soldiers were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings on Monday when a militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby, setting off the explosion prematurely. The buildings collapsed on the soldiers.

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Key events

Israel proposes fighting pause in Gaza for release of all hostages – report

Israel has given Hamas a proposal through Qatari and Egyptian mediators that includes up to a two-month pause in the fighting as part of a multi-phase deal to free all the hostages being held in Gaza, Axios reported on Monday.

The first phase would reportedly involve the release of women, men over 60 and those in critical medical condition. Subsequent phases would involve the release of female soldiers, younger civilian men, male soldiers and the bodies of dead hostages, according to the report, which cited two Israeli officials.

The officials – who said the deal was expected to take around two months to implement – added that the proposal also involved the release of an as yet undetermined number of the roughly 6,000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel, but not all of them.

The proposal does not include promises to end the war, but it would involve Israeli troops reducing their presence in major cities in Gaza and gradually allowing residents to return to the territory’s devastated north.

The Guardian is yet to independently verify the claims in the report.

A total of 110 Israelis and other nationals were released in return for 240 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons as part of a week-long truce at the end of November. Several attempts at a ceasefire since have failed.

The families of the remaining 130 hostages appear to be turning to more drastic measures in pursuit of another release deal, including further demonstrations outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s private home.

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Summary of the day so far

It’s 9am in Gaza and Tel Aviv and 10am in Sana’a, Yemen. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Israel’s army has revised up its death toll and says a total of 21 soldiers were killed in an attack in central Gaza in the last 24 hours. It makes it the largest single loss of life for the Israeli military since the war began. Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesperson, said the soldiers were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings on Monday when a militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby, setting off the explosion prematurely. The buildings collapsed on the soldiers. The IDF had earlier put the death toll at 10.

  • The Palestine Red Crescent Society says its headquarters is being targeted in Khan Younis. Posting on X, the group said: “Urgent – Israeli Occupation targets the PRCS’s headquarters in #KhanYounis with artillery shelling on the fourth floor, coinciding with intense gunfire from Israeli drones.”

  • Concern has been expressed about the safety of hospital staff and patients in Gaza, with the World Health Organization’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posting on X that “continuous fighting in the vicinity of al-Amal hospital and today’s raid at Al-Kheir hospital in #Gaza are deeply worrisome.”

  • The US national security council spokesperson John Kirby reacted to those reports on Monday, saying Israel had a right to defend itself but adding: “We expect them to do so in accordance with international law and to protect innocent people in hospitals, medical staff and patients as well, as much as possible.”

  • The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) has released its latest update on the fighting in the Israel-Gaza war, saying hostilities have escalated in Khan Younis. “On 22 January, ground operations, fighting and attacks intensified in the Khan Younis area, destroying several residential houses, buildings, towers and residential squares, reportedly killing at least 45 Palestinians, including IDPs [internally displaced persons], women and children,” it reported.

  • The US carried out its eighth round of airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Monday at 11.59pm local time. A Pentagon statement said the bombing was proportionate and necessary.

  • US military officials said the strikes were successful and had “good impacts” in all eight locations. US Central Command said the strikes were to respond to increased Houthi destabilizing and illegal activities”.

  • The UK joined the airstrikes for the second time in 10 days. The defence secretary, Grant Shapps, said the attacks were “in self-defence” and in the interests of degrading Houthi capabilities.

  • The Pentagon said the operation targeted a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and air surveillance sites. The UK Ministry of Defence said it was involved in hitting multiple targets at two military sites with guided precision bombs in the vicinity of Sana’a airfield.

  • The action followed a call on Monday between Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden. The leaders discussed further “disrupting and degrading Houthi capabilities,” a US spokesperson said.

  • A joint statement from both countries said they had conducted strikes against eight Houthi targets in Yemen, with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.

  • The UK involvement on Monday appears to have been smaller than in 11 January’s strikes. Ten days ago, US and UK warships and jets hit more than 60 targets in 28 locations.

  • Yemen’s official Saba news agency said “American-British forces are launching raids on the capital of Sana’a” and several other parts of Yemen, Agence France-Presse reports. Houthi TV outlet al-Masirah said four strikes targeted the Al-Dailami military base north of the capital, which is under rebel control.

  • A Houthi spokesperson responded on X to say the airstrikes “will only increase the Yemeni people’s determination”. Mohammed al-Bukhaiti accused the UK and US of protecting perpetrators of “genocide” in Gaza.

  • Mohammad Ali AlHouthi, who is with Yemen’s Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, also posted on X about the latest round of strikes. As part of his post he said: “Trust well that every operation and every aggression against our country will not be without a response.”

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The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) has released its latest update on the fighting in the Israel-Gaza war.

It says hostilities have escalated in Khan Younis:

On 22 January, ground operations, fighting and attacks intensified in the Khan Younis area, destroying several residential houses, buildings, towers and residential squares, reportedly killing at least 45 Palestinians, including IDPs [internally displaced persons], women and children.

Along with noting the World Health Organization’s reports of an increase in attacks on healthcare in Gaza and the West Bank, the update outlines a lack of medical staff to treat patients:

Humanitarian health partners report on a severe shortage of medical staff in some of the hospitals in Gaza. Only 12 medical doctors are still working at al-Aqsa hospital, which is about 10% of the doctors who operated before the start of the hostilities. Nasser hospital has experienced a significant decrease in staff and patient numbers, as over 50% of staff have left and only 400 out of 750 patients remaining, some seeking care elsewhere or remaining at home.

#Gaza Hostilities have further escalated in Khan Younis.

A strike reportedly hit near Al Amal hospital, but the intensity of hostilities nearby prevented patients and displaced people from leaving.#NotATarget

This and more in Flash Update #99👇

— OCHA oPt (Palestine) (@ochaopt) January 23, 2024

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IDF increases soldier death toll to 21 in past 24 hours

Israel’s army has revised up its death toll and says a total of 21 soldiers were killed in an attack in central Gaza in the last 24 hours.

It makes it the largest single loss of life for the Israeli military since the war began.

Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesperson, made the announcement on Tuesday, updating an earlier toll.

He said the soldiers were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings on Monday when a militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby, setting off the explosion prematurely. The buildings collapsed on the soldiers.

Updated at 

IDF says 10 soldiers killed in Gaza

It’s 7:56am in Tel Aviv where Israel’s Defence Forces (IDF) are reporting that 10 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours.

It’s one of the deadliest single attacks on Israeli forces of the 3-month war against Hamas, says Reuters.

מצורפת הודעת דובר צה”ל בנושא שמותיהם של עשרה חללי צה״ל אשר הודעה נמסרה למשפחותיהם: https://t.co/WN2hJLvBim

מצורף קישור לאתר צה”ל, בו מפורסמים ומתעדכנים פרטיהם ותמונותיהם של החללים:https://t.co/gBSQOIk0Wv
>>

— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) January 23, 2024

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Palestine Red Crescent Society says headquarters targeted in Gaza

It’s currently 7:50 in Gaza where the Palestine Red Crescent Society says its headquarters is being targeted in Khan Younis.

Posting on X, the group says “Urgent – Israeli Occupation targets the PRCS’s headquarters in #KhanYounis with artillery shelling on the fourth floor, coinciding with intense gunfire from Israeli drones”.

It’s as concern has been expressed about the safety of hospital staff and patients in Gaza, with the World Health Organization’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posting on X that “continuous fighting in the vicinity of Al-Amal Hospital, and today’s raid at Al-Kheir Hospital in #Gaza are deeply worrisome.”

National security council spokesperson John Kirby reacted to those reports on Monday, saying Israel had a right to defend itself but added: “We expect them to do so in accordance with international law and to protect innocent people in hospitals, medical staff and patients as well, as much as possible.”

Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) posted on X earlier saying that “MSF staff in Nasser hospital report they can feel the ground shaking and that there is a sense of panic among staff, patients and displaced people sheltering inside the building.”

🚨Urgent – Israeli Occupation targets the PRCS’s headquarters in #KhanYounis with artillery shelling on the fourth floor, coinciding with intense gunfire from Israeli drones, resulting in injuries among internally displaced individuals who sought safety on our premises.…

— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) January 23, 2024

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Houthi group responds to fresh US and UK air strikes in Yemen

Yemen’s Houthis have promised a response to the latest round of strikes from the UK and the US.

Mohammad Ali AlHouthi who is with Yemen’s Houthi supreme revolutionary committee has posted on X about the strikes, saying “Trust well that every operation and every aggression against our country will not be without a response”.

A senior political official and spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, also posted earlier saying “The American-British aggression will only increase the Yemeni people’s determination to carry out their moral and humanitarian responsibilities towards the oppressed in Gaza,” he said.

Al-Bukhaiti went on to say “The war today is between Yemen, which is struggling to stop the crimes of genocide, and the American-British coalition to support and protect its perpetrators.”

US and British forces carried out a fresh round of strikes on Monday in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and surveillance capabilities used by the group against Red Sea shipping, the Pentagon said.

The Houthis say their attacks on shipping aims to end the Israeli air-and-ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

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Summary of the day so far

It’s 4:53am in Yemen’s capital Sana’a and 3:53am in Gaza and Tel Aviv. We are pausing this blog on the Middle East crisis for now, but first, here’s a summary of the latest so far:

  • The US has carried out its eighth round of airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Monday at 11.59pm local time. A Pentagon statement said the bombing was proportionate and necessary.

  • US military officials said the strikes were successful and had “good impacts” in all eight locations. US Central Command said the strikes were to respond to increased Houthi destabilizing and illegal activities”.

  • The UK joined the airstrikes for the second time in ten days. Defence secretary Grant Shapps said the attacks were “in self-defence” and in the interests of degrading Houthi capabilities.

  • The Pentagon said the operation targeted a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and air surveillance sites. The UK Ministry of Defence added that it was involved in hitting multiple targets at two military sites with guided precision bombs in the vicinity of Sana’a airfield.

  • The action followed a call on Monday between Sunak and US president Joe Biden. The leaders discussed further “disrupting and degrading Houthi capabilities,” a US spokesperson said.

  • A joint statement from both countries said that they had conducted strikes against eight Houthi targets in Yemen, with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.

  • The UK involvement on Monday appears to have been smaller than 11 January’s strikes. Ten days ago, US and UK warships and jets hit more than 60 targets in 28 locations.

  • Yemen’s official Saba news agency said that “American-British forces are launching raids on the capital of Sanaa” and several other parts of Yemen, Agence France-Presse reports. Houthi TV outlet al-Masirah said four strikes targeted the Al-Dailami military base north of the capital, which is under rebel control.

  • A Houthi spokesperson responded on X to say the airstrikes “will only increase the Yemeni people’s determination.” Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti accused the UK and US of protecting “perpetrators” to “genocide” in Gaza.

  • Mohammad Ali AlHouthi who is with Yemen’s Houthi supreme revolutionary committee has also posted on X about the latest round of strikes. As part of his post he says “Trust well that every operation and every aggression against our country will not be without a response”.

  • UK prime minister Rishi Sunak did not brief Labour leader Keir Starmer or House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle ahead of the strikes. Sunak received criticism ten days ago for not informing parliament beforehand and this time did not brief Labour’s top team either.

  • The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have disrupted the global commercial shipping route in the Red Sea and forced ships to go around the Cape of Good Hope. The Houthis say they are acting to support Palestine amid Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, in which officials say 25,000 people have been killed, but Houthi attacks have also targeted ships with no connection to Israel.

  • As the latest round of US and UK strikes take place against the Houthis in Yemen, the Israel-Gaza war continues. The US has called for Israel to protect innocent people in hospitals, Reuters reports. Israeli forces stormed one hospital according to Palestinian officials and put another under siege as they advanced deep into western Khan Younis in Gaza.

  • Israel’s defence forces (IDF) say in a post on X that they have hit what they say are Hezbollah structures in ​​the villages of Leyda and Itarun in southern Lebanon.

Inside Israel, there were heated scenes as dozens of family members of hostages held by Hamas stormed a committee meeting in Israel’s parliament Monday, demanding a deal to release them.

They stormed into a gathering of the Knesset’s finance committee, holding up signs and yelling, “You won’t sit here while they are dying there!”, reports Associated Press.

“These are our children!” they shouted. Some had to be physically restrained, and at least one person was escorted out.

Relatives of Israelis who have been held hostage by Hamas militants since 7 October, storm a parliamentary committee session on Monday
Relatives of Israelis who have been held hostage by Hamas militants since 7 October, storm a parliamentary committee session on Monday. Photograph: Steven Scheer/Reuters

Israel’s defence forces (IDF) say in a post on X that it has hit what it says are Hezbollah structures in ​​the villages of Leyda and Itarun in southern Lebanon.

At least 202 people have been killed in south Lebanon since early October, according to an Agence France-Presse tally, as Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants trade near-daily fire. On the Israeli side, 15 people have been killed.

מטוסי קרב של חיל האוויר תקפו הערב תשתיות טרור ועמדות תצפית של ארגון הטרור חיזבאללה במרחב הכפרים בליידא ועיתרון שבדרום לבנון.

בנוסף, צה”ל תקף מוקדם יותר היום מבנה צבאי של הארגון במרחב מג’דל סלם pic.twitter.com/KaW3sLjisD

— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) January 22, 2024

Here is our latest report on the situation in Gaza and what we know about events at the al-Khair hospital west of Khan Younis, as well as the al-Amal hospital in Khan Younis:

As the latest round of US and UK strikes take place against the Houthis in Yemen, the Israel-Gaza war continues.

The US has called for Israel to protect innocent people in hospitals, Reuters reports. Israeli forces stormed one hospital according to Palestinian officials and put another under siege as they advanced deep into western Khan Younis in Gaza.

Residents say the bombardment from air, land and sea was the most intense in southern Gaza since the war began in October.

Israeli troops moved for the first time into Al-Mawasi district near the Mediterranean coast, west of Khan Younis, the main city in southern Gaza.

There, they stormed Al-Khair hospital and arrested medical staff, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al Qidra told Reuters.

There was no word from Israel on the situation at the hospital, and the military spokesperson’s office had no comment. The military said later that three Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday in southern Gaza.

White House national security council spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday that Israel had a right to defend itself but added: “We expect them to do so in accordance with international law and to protect innocent people in hospitals, medical staff and patients as well, as much as possible.”

Mohammad Ali AlHouthi who is with Yemen’s Houthi supreme revolutionary committee has also posted on X about the latest round of strikes.

As part of his post he says “Trust well that every operation and every aggression against our country will not be without a response”.

US and British forces carried out a fresh round of strikes on Monday in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and surveillance capabilities used by the group against Red Sea shipping, the Pentagon said.

The Houthis say their attacks on shipping aims to end the Israeli air-and-ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

نقول للأمريكي والبريطاني من هذه الساحة المباركة ومن بين أبناء صنعاء الجديدة من بين القبائل هذه الكريمة نقول له، ثق جيداً أن كل عملية وكل عدوان على بلدنا لن يكون بدون رد، وترقّب الرد في كل دقيقة، إن لم يكن في كل ثانية ففي كل دقيقة يجب أن تترقب أن هناك رد قادم وأنه لا محالة سيكون… pic.twitter.com/QZuk47tUK1

— محمد علي الحوثي (@Moh_Alhouthi) January 22, 2024

Here’s two more images released by the US and UK military of planes involved in the latest round of strikes against the Houthis in Yemen:

A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 takes off to carry out airstrikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen, from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus
A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 takes off to carry out airstrikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen, from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. Image provided by the UK Ministry of Defence. Photograph: AS1 Jake Green RAF/AP
This photo of a plane taking off at an undisclosed location was released by the US military’s Central Command on Monday
This photo of a plane taking off at an undisclosed location was released by the US military’s Central Command on Monday. Photograph: US Central Command (CENTCOM)/AFP/Getty Images

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Our Defence and security editor Dan Sabbagh has the full report on this latest round of strikes:

The US and the UK have conducted a further round of strikes against Houthi targets, the second time in a month the two countries have bombed Yemen together in an attempt to stop the rebel group targeting shipping in the southern Red Sea.

A joint statement from both countries said that they had conducted “an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes” against eight Houthi targets in Yemen, with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.

The number of targets is considerably lower than the 60 which were struck in the first air raids on Yemen made by the two countries 10 days earlier, but their effect and the number of casualties caused is unclear.

Read the rest here:

There’s a bit more detail on the strikes coming from inside Yemen.

Yemen’s official Saba news agency said that “American-British forces are launching raids on the capital of Sanaa” and several other parts of Yemen, Agence France-Presse reports.

Houthi TV outlet al-Masirah said four strikes targeted the Al-Dailami military base north of the capital, which is under rebel control.

The Houthis began striking Red Sea shipping in November, saying they were hitting Israeli-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza during the war with Israel.

The Houthis have since declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.





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