Israel-Hamas war latest: Israeli military announces 'tactical pauses' in parts of southern Gaza - as minister says cabinet was not informed of decision (2024)

Key points
  • Israeli military announces 'tactical pauses' in parts of southern Gaza
  • Ben-Gvir slams 'delusional' plan - and says it was not approved by cabinet
  • Route of 'pauses' outlined by IDF
  • Alistair Bunkall analysis:Why 'tactical pauses' don't spell an end to fighting
  • US Navy details commercial ship crew rescue after Houthi attack
  • Ceasefire response 'consistent' with Biden's plans, Hamas chief says
  • Live reporting by Ollie Cooper



Thanks for following our live coverage, that's all for today.


Temporary housing for displaced Israelis extended to August

The Israeli state will continue to pay for the temporary housing and hotels for citizens caught up in the 7 October Hamas attacks and the resulting conflict with militant groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

Thousands of Israelis, particularly in the areas bordering Gaza and Lebanon, have been put up at the expense of the state since their displacement - allowed to return to their homes only when the security situation allows.

Earlier this year, our international correspondent Alex RossivisitedKiryat Shmona, an evacuated Israeli settlement near Lebanon, and described a ghost-town like scene...

Some of those in temporary living situations were hoping to return soon, but today the government's extension of the scheme seems to have poured cold water on that.

"The government, today, approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal... to extend the period of lodging for residents who have been evacuated from their homes, in the hotels and temporary housing solutions, which are being financed by the state, until 15 August 2024," a statement from Mr Netanyahu's office read.

"This is according to professional considerations and an assessment of the overall conditions that would allow for the residents to return to their homes."


IDF striking targets in Lebanon

The Israel Defence Forces has struck what it says are Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

It said the air force had "intercepted a suspicious aerial target over southern Lebanon" and fighter jets were dispatched in response.

"IDF fighter jets struck a Hezbollah military structure in the area of Yaroun in southern Lebanon," it said in a statement, adding: "IDF [also] artillery fired to remove a threat in the area of Amra."

For context: Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which means "Party of God" in Arabic, openly calls for the destruction of the "Zionist regime in Palestine" and is deemed a terror organisation by most Western powers.

The militia has long aligned itself with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and has frequently clashed with IDF forces on the Israel-Lebanon border since the most recent conflict broke out on 7 October.

But the violence has largely been contained to areas at theborder, shaped by what observers have called unwritten rules ofengagement between adversaries that have long threatened eachother with catastrophic damage in the event of war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously warned thatBeirut would be turned "into Gaza" if Hezbollah started anall-out war.


In pictures: Prayers outside Al Aqsa mosque

These images show Muslims in Jerusalem praying outside the Al Aqsa mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Access to the mosque has been strictly supervised by the Israel Defence Forces in recent months, with many worshippers complaining about unnecessarily tight rules for a holy place.

As we outlined in our 7.12am post, today Muslims are holding prayers for Eid al Adha.

The holiday, commonly translated as theFeast of Sacrifice, is the second of the two main Islamic holidays alongside Eid al Fitr.


US Navy details commercial ship crew rescue after Houthi attack

The US Navy has shared details of how its sailors rescued the crew of a commercial ship struck by the Yemeni Houthi group.

The Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk cargo carrier M/V Tutor was struck by a Houthi "unmanned vessel" in the southern Red Sea on 12 June, which "caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room".

"A helicopter from helicopter maritime strike squadron 74 airlifted 24 civilian mariners from Tutor to Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea," the navy said.

"From there, helicopters from helicopter sea combat squadron 7 transported the group to USS Dwight D Eisenhower."

After being medically checked on board, the mariners were flown ashore for follow-on care.

One civilian mariner remains missing, however.

For context: The Yemen-based, Iran-backed Houthis say they are targeting any and all ships they believe are linked, operated, owned, flagged or travelling to or from Israel.

US and British destroyers are among an international naval taskforce set up to combat the Houthi attacks in the area.


Another right-wing minister decries tactical pauses

Earlier, we brought you the words of Israel's far-right security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who dubbed the "tactical pause" plans for parts of southern Gaza "delusional".

Finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, who chairs the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist Party, has similarly criticised the plan.

Mr Ben-Gvir and Mr Smotrich are two of the biggest supporters of the war in Gaza, but often suggest the military or those controlling it do not go far enough.

"The 'humanitarian aid' that continues to reach Hamas keeps it in power and may put the achievements of the war down the drain," Mr Smotrich said.

"The problem is that the [IDF's] general headquarters is completely disconnected from the existence of the forces in the field," he added.

Reports have swirled that neither cabinet nor the prime minister and his defence secretary were made aware of the IDF announcement before it went public.


Analysis: Why 'tactical pauses' don't spell an end to fighting

ByAlistair Bunkall,Middle East correspondent

The decision to pause fighting for 11 hours a day along two main routes in Gaza comes as a result of international pressure on Israel and the desperate need to get aid flowing around the Strip.

The Rafah crossing, between Gaza and Egypt, has been closed ever since Israel began military operations there some weeks ago.

As well as humanitarian aid, it was also the main route for fuel into Gaza.

The US floating pier has been unsuccessful and is again being temporarily dismantled due to rough seas.

Aid has been piling up on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing with too few lorries to collect it.

When the trucks do move, they're often looted before getting far.

This localised pause does not mean an end to the fighting.

In fact, the fighting around Rafah has been particularly intense over recent days and Israel has made it clear operations will continue there and elsewhere.

The corridor, although limited, should help movement of aid, however, and could be expanded if successful.


In pictures: Aerials show scale of protests against Netanyahu government

These images show the scale of recent protests against Benjamin Netanyahu's government in Tel Aviv.

As we reported earlier, protests are increasing in frequency, attendance and tension as parts of the Israeli public voice their anger at the lack of movement on a ceasefire and hostage deal with Hamas (see 8.59am post).

These pictures were taken by a drone last night.


Ben-Gvir slams 'delusional' tactical pause plan - and says it was not approved by cabinet

Tactical pauses near Rafah are "delusional", Israel's far-right security minister has said.

Itamar Ben-Gvir said: "The one who decided on a 'tactical truce' for the purpose of a humanitarian transition, especially at a time when many of our soldiers are falling in battle, is evil and a fool who should not continue in his position.

"Unfortunately, this move was not brought before the cabinet and is contrary to its decisions."

Mr Ben-Gvir has repeatedly called for Israel to stop aid deliveries to Gaza during the war and tore-occupy the territory.

"It's time to get out of the concept and stop the crazy and delusional approach that only brings us more dead and fallen," he concluded.

There are also reports among Israeli outlets that the announcement this morning also came as a surprise to the remaining war cabinet ministers - defence minister Yoav Gallant and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Ceasefire response 'consistent' with Biden's plans, Hamas chief says

Hamas's response to the Joe Biden ceasefire proposal was largely consistent with the US president's plans, the group's leader has said.

Speaking to mark Eid al Adha, Ismail Haniyeh said: "The movement, along with all the resistance factions, has shown great seriousness and great flexibility in order to reach an agreement that will spare the blood of our people and stop the aggression.

"Our response... is compatible with the foundations contained in Biden's speech and the Security Council resolution regarding the three stages of the deal and the terms of the ceasefire," he added.

Haniyeh then blamed Israel for not showing any flexibility and attempting "to circumvent and deceive through proposals and ideas aimed at obtaining prisoners and returning to resume the war of extermination again".

For context:Joe Biden's proposal, outlined at the end of May, was accepted by Israel on Tuesday night - but not publicly.

Hamas initially suggested it had accepted the deal, but on Wednesday, Antony Blinken spoke in Qatar and said Hamas had requested changes to the deal.

"Some of the changes are workable, some are not," he said.

Reports suggested Hamas wants written guarantees from the US over a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza before it signs off on the deal.

What is the proposed deal?

The first of the proposed three-phase deal would be a ceasefire lasting six weeks, during whichIsraelandHamaswould negotiate a permanent end to the fighting in Gaza, Mr Biden said when outlining the plan at the end of May.

If the negotiations take longer than six weeks, the ceasefire would continue for as long as it takes to strike a deal, he added.

Phase two would involve Hamas handing over the remaining hostages and Israel withdrawing all of its forces from Gaza.

The final phase would be about a "major reconstruction plan" for Gaza, according to the president.

It was backed by the United Nations Security Council on Monday.

Israel-Hamas war latest: Israeli military announces 'tactical pauses' in parts of southern Gaza - as minister says cabinet was not informed of decision (2024)


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