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Top UN court opens hearings on Israel military incursion into Rafah

The United Nations' top court opens two days of hearings on Thursday into a request from South Africa to press Israel to halt its military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population has sought shelter.

It is the fourth time South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice for emergency measures since the nation launched proceedings alleging that Israel's military action in its war with Hamas in Gaza amounts to genocide.

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Netanyahu fends off criticism over lack of postwar plan for Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fended off criticism that he is not planning for a postwar reality in the Gaza Strip, saying it was impossible to prepare for any scenario in the embattled Palestinian enclave until Hamas is defeated.

Netanyahu has faced increasing pressure from critics at home and allies abroad, especially the United States, to present a plan for governance, security and rebuilding of Gaza.

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Bahrain calls for Mideast peace conference at Gaza-focused Arab League

Host Bahrain called for a Middle East peace conference Thursday at the start of an Arab League summit dominated by the Israel-Hamas war, which has been raging in the Gaza Strip without a ceasefire in sight.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was addressing fellow heads of state and government at the 22-strong grouping in the capital Manama, more than seven months into a conflict that has convulsed the region.

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Israel army says friendly fire killed five soldiers in north Gaza

The Israeli military said Thursday that friendly fire had killed five soldiers the previous day in the northern Gaza Strip, where intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war has resumed in recent days.

Asked to confirm media reports that the five fatalities announced earlier in an official statement were caused by Israeli fire, a military spokesperson told AFP: "Yes."

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Biden administration sends $1 bn more in arms to Israel

The Biden administration has told key lawmakers it would send more than $1 billion in additional arms and ammunition to Israel, three congressional aides said. But it was not immediately known how soon the weapons would be delivered.

It's the first arms shipment to Israel to be revealed since the administration put another arms transfer, consisting of 3,500 bombs of up to 2,000 pounds each, on hold this month. The Biden administration, citing concern for civilian casualties in Gaza, has said it paused that bomb transfer to keep Israel from using those particular munitions in its offensive in the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah.

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Palestinians say man killed by Israel troops after march marking 1948 'Nakba'

Palestinian officials said Israeli troops killed a man on Wednesday as clashes broke out after a West Bank march commemorating the mass displacement of Palestinians in the "Nakba" of 1948.

"A young man was killed by occupation bullets at the northern entrance of the city of Al-Bireh," the Palestinian health ministry said. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported the man killed was a 20-year-old student at Birzeit University.

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ICC prosecutor faces demand for action against Israeli leaders, Putin

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor is facing demands for speedy action against Israeli leaders and a blistering Russian attack over the ICC's arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin stemming from Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Karim Khan responded by telling the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that he will not be swayed or intimidated as his team investigates possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Gaza and the Palestinian territories as well as in Ukraine.

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Israelis mark subdued Independence Day under shadow of Gaza war

The grills were fired up, the blankets were spread across the grass, the smoke was pungent from sizzling slabs of meat. As in previous years, Israelis marked Independence Day with barbecues in parks across the country. Usually, parties crush so close that not even a tuft of grass is visible between the picnic blankets as Hebrew techno music reverberates through the trees from dueling speakers.

But this year, the day parties Tuesday were smaller and quieter, with far fewer celebrants, in the shadow of the war in Gaza and immediately after the country marked an emotional Memorial Day. Families grappled with their desire to mark Independence Day even as the country is facing a drawn-out war and one of its most difficult tests in decades.

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Palestinians across Middle East mark 'Nakba' with eyes on war in Gaza

Palestinians across the Middle East on Wednesday are marking the anniversary of their mass expulsion from what is now Israel with protests and other events across the region at a time of mounting concern over the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

The Nakba, Arabic for "catastrophe," refers to the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were driven out of what today is Israel before and during the war surrounding its creation in 1948.

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EU urges Israel to end Rafah military operation 'immediately'

The European Union on Wednesday urged Israel to end its military operation in Gaza's Rafah "immediately", warning that a failure to do so would undermine ties with the bloc.

"Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU's relationship with Israel," said the statement issued in the EU's name by its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

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