Israel-Gaza war live: US moves forward with $1bn package of new weapons for Israel

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Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the Israel-Gaza war.

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The US state department has moved a $1bn package of weapons aid for Israel into the congressional review process, two US officials said on Tuesday. The latest weapons package includes tank rounds, mortars and armored tactical vehicles, according to multiple sources in US media.

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The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations and the House Foreign Affairs committees review major foreign weapons deals.

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The move comes after president Joe Biden said last week he had delayed a shipment of bombs to Israel over concerns they might be used for a major invasion of Rafah.

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More on that in a moment, first here’s a summary of the day’s other main events.

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  • Israeli tanks have advanced further into eastern Rafah, reaching some residential districts of the southern border city in Gaza. A UN official said the most advanced Israeli positions were about 2km from his office. Between 360,000 and 500,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in the past week after Israeli warnings to evacuate eastern and central neighbourhoods.

  • \n

  • The international court of justice (ICJ), said it would hold hearings on Thursday and Friday to discuss a request by South Africa seeking new emergency measures over the Rafah incursion, which Qatar says has stalled efforts to reach a ceasefire. South Africa’s demand is part of a case it brought against Israel accusing it of violating the genocide convention in Gaza, and which Israel has called baseless.

  • \n

  • Médecins Sans Frontières said that it had been “forced to stop providing healthcare at Rafah Indonesian Field hospital” as of Sunday. “MSF has seen a pattern of systematic attacks against medical facilities and civilian infrastructure since the beginning of the war. In light of this, as well as the advancing offensive, we have made the decision to leave Rafah Indonesian Field hospital,” the medical NGO said. It said the 22 patients who remained at the hospital have been referred to other facilities as MSF can “no longer guarantee their safety”.

  • \n

  • The Biden administration has assessed that Israel has amassed enough troops on the edge of Rafah to move forward with a full-scale incursion on the southern Gazan city over the coming days, CNN reported. The two senior administration officials also told the outlet that US officials are unsure if Israel has made a final decision to carry out the full-scale invasion.

  • \n

  • A pier built by the US military for Gaza aid deliveries will be operational “in the coming days,” the Pentagon said, after a week of bad weather delayed its installation. With a cost of at least $320m, the pier is aimed at boosting humanitarian access to Gaza, which has been ravaged by seven months of war between Israel and Hamas.

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Key events

The Times of Israel is reporting that about 200 protesters, including some relatives of those being held hostage by Hamas inside Gaza, are staging a demonstration calling for the return of hostages which has blocked a highway near Ramat Hasharon in Israel.

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תלמידי בית ספר &quot;הכפר הירוק&quot;, בני משפחותיהם ונציגים משפחות חטופים חוסמים כעת הכביש הראשי והכניסה למוסד הלימודי על דרך 482. בין המפגינים בני משפחת יבלונקה וגת ממשפחות החטופים. (קרדיט גיל בארי) @N12News pic.twitter.com/bTYBscuXlT

&mdash; אור רביד | Or Ravid (@OrRavid) May 15, 2024

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תלמידי בית ספר “הכפר הירוק”, בני משפחותיהם ונציגים משפחות חטופים חוסמים כעת הכביש הראשי והכניסה למוסד הלימודי על דרך 482. בין המפגינים בני משפחת יבלונקה וגת ממשפחות החטופים. (קרדיט גיל בארי) @N12News pic.twitter.com/bTYBscuXlT

— אור רביד | Or Ravid (@OrRavid) May 15, 2024

Al Jazeera is reporting that at least ten Palestinains have been killed in an Israeli strike on an Unrwa clinic in Gaza City’s Sabra neighbourhood.

More details soon …

Israel has said that one of its soldiers was killed in the south of Gaza on Tuesday. The military now says that 273 soldiers have been killed since ground operations began inside Gaza on 27 October.

It has not been possible for journalists to independently verify the casualty figures being issued during the conflict.

Overnight Israel’s military has claimed to have killed a senior Hezbollah commander inside Lebanon.

Posting a video of a strike to its official Telegram channel, the Israel Defense Forces claimed to have killed Hussain Ibrahim Mekky, describing him as “a senior field commander in the Hezbollah terrorist organization on the southern front, who was responsible for the planning and execution of numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and territory since the start of the war.”

Al Jazeera reports that pro-Iranian channel Al Mayadeen has confirmed the death.

Welcome and summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the Israel-Gaza war.

The US state department has moved a $1bn package of weapons aid for Israel into the congressional review process, two US officials said on Tuesday. The latest weapons package includes tank rounds, mortars and armored tactical vehicles, according to multiple sources in US media.

The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations and the House Foreign Affairs committees review major foreign weapons deals.

The move comes after president Joe Biden said last week he had delayed a shipment of bombs to Israel over concerns they might be used for a major invasion of Rafah.

More on that in a moment, first here’s a summary of the day’s other main events.

  • Israeli tanks have advanced further into eastern Rafah, reaching some residential districts of the southern border city in Gaza. A UN official said the most advanced Israeli positions were about 2km from his office. Between 360,000 and 500,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in the past week after Israeli warnings to evacuate eastern and central neighbourhoods.

  • The international court of justice (ICJ), said it would hold hearings on Thursday and Friday to discuss a request by South Africa seeking new emergency measures over the Rafah incursion, which Qatar says has stalled efforts to reach a ceasefire. South Africa’s demand is part of a case it brought against Israel accusing it of violating the genocide convention in Gaza, and which Israel has called baseless.

  • Médecins Sans Frontières said that it had been “forced to stop providing healthcare at Rafah Indonesian Field hospital” as of Sunday. “MSF has seen a pattern of systematic attacks against medical facilities and civilian infrastructure since the beginning of the war. In light of this, as well as the advancing offensive, we have made the decision to leave Rafah Indonesian Field hospital,” the medical NGO said. It said the 22 patients who remained at the hospital have been referred to other facilities as MSF can “no longer guarantee their safety”.

  • The Biden administration has assessed that Israel has amassed enough troops on the edge of Rafah to move forward with a full-scale incursion on the southern Gazan city over the coming days, CNN reported. The two senior administration officials also told the outlet that US officials are unsure if Israel has made a final decision to carry out the full-scale invasion.

  • A pier built by the US military for Gaza aid deliveries will be operational “in the coming days,” the Pentagon said, after a week of bad weather delayed its installation. With a cost of at least $320m, the pier is aimed at boosting humanitarian access to Gaza, which has been ravaged by seven months of war between Israel and Hamas.

The Guardian

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