Advertisement

Iranian officer killed by ‘Israeli strike’ in Syria

An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer has been killed in Syria by a suspected Israeli strike, Iranian state media reported.

The man, named by the official IRNA news agency as Reza Zarei, reportedly served in the IRGC’s navy.

Friday’s strike was carried out at dawn in Baniyas, a government-controlled city located on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Other Iranian media reports said two members of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group were also killed.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which does not usually respond to reports of raids on Syria.

Iran is a key political, military and financial backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, and has sent military advisers and volunteers to bolster his regime’s forces since civil war broke out in 2011.


03:57 PM GMT

Today’s liveblog is now closed

Thank you for following the Telegraph’s live coverage of the war in Gaza.


03:34 PM GMT

South Africa accuses Israel of breaching ICJ order

South Africa has accused Israel of breaching an International Court of Justice (ICJ) order after more than 100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza while awaiting aid.

“South Africa condemns the massacre of 112 Palestinians and the injury of hundreds more as they sought life-saving aid,” South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said following Thursday’s incident.

“This latest atrocity is another breach of international law and in breach of the binding provisional orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”

In a case brought by South Africa, the ICJ in January ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and to report back on what steps it was taking in a month’s time.

Israel has denied allegations of genocide and said it has the right to defend itself. The South African statement said Israel had submitted a report to the ICJ, which Pretoria was preparing a response to.

Palestinians attend Friday prayers in front of the ruins of the al-Faruq mosque
Palestinians attend Friday prayers in front of the ruins of the al-Faruq mosque - Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

03:20 PM GMT

Gaza war deepening Biden’s problems at home

Joe Biden’s team has long been worried about the commitment of his core voters.

Last autumn, strategists became concerned about the president’s unpopularity among young liberals and some ethnic minority groups that could usually be counted upon to vote for him.

Polls showed that some young people were switching their support to Donald Trump, while a larger group said they still supported progressive politics, but were unlikely to turn out for Mr Biden on election day.

This week’s primary results in Michigan showed that the war in Gaza has accelerated that trend.

Read more here.


03:00 PM GMT

Egypt eyes pre-Ramadan ceasefire deal

Egypt is hopeful that a Gaza ceasefire can be agreed before the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Truce talks initiated by Qatar have been taking place in Paris since last week in what appears to be the most serious push for weeks to halt the fighting in the Palestinian enclave and secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.

A proposed deal from the start of Ramadan, expected to fall on March 10 or 11, includes a 40-day pause in all military operations and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli hostages at a ratio of 10 to one, a senior source close to the talks told Reuters this week.

“I can say that we have reached a point of understanding, we will still exert every effort with our brothers in Qatar and the US and others close to the negotiations,” Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey.

“Everyone recognises that we have a time limit to be successful before the start of Ramadan,” he added.


02:38 PM GMT

Gaza famine ‘almost inevitable’, UN warns

Famine in the Gaza Strip is almost inevitable unless war is halted, the United Nations has warned.

“We don’t want to get to that situation and we need things to change before that,” Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN’s humanitarian office (OCHA), told a briefing in Geneva.

“Once a famine is declared, it is too late for too many people,” he added.

Palestinians perform Friday prayers among the rubble of the Al-Farooq Mosque
Palestinians perform Friday prayers among the rubble of the Al-Farooq Mosque - Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images

02:32 PM GMT

Macron accuses Israel of ‘targeting civilians’ seeking aid

Emmanuel Macron accused Israeli troops of “targeting civilians” who were desperately seeking aid after more than 100 people were killed during a scramble for food.

The French president said he felt “deep indignation” over Thursday’s incident, which took place near Gaza City.

There were conflicting reports about how the pre-dawn chaos unfolded.

The Israeli military said a “stampede” occurred when thousands of desperate Gazans surrounded a convoy of aid trucks, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries, including some who were run over by the lorries.  It admitted some of its troops had opened fire, believing they were threatened.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry called it a “massacre” and said 112 people were killed and more than 750 others wounded.

“Civilians have been targeted by Israeli soldiers,” Mr Macron said. “I express my strongest condemnation of these shootings and call for truth, justice, and respect for international law.”


01:56 PM GMT

India ‘deeply shocked’ by aid convoy deaths

India’s government has said it is “deeply shocked” by the loss of lives in northern Gaza on Thursday, when more than 100 people were killed while waiting for an aid delivery.

“Such loss of civilian lives and the larger humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to be a cause for extreme concern,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.


01:30 PM GMT

Latest images from Gaza

Palestinian children taking refuge in the Gaza Strip's Tel al-Sultan region decorate their tents with Ramadan lanterns
Palestinian children taking refuge in the Gaza Strip's Tel al-Sultan region decorate their tents with Ramadan lanterns - Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty Images
A Palestinian boy lights a fire next to a girl holding a Ramadan lantern in front of a tent in Gaza's Tel al-Sultan region
A Palestinian boy lights a fire next to a girl holding a Ramadan lantern in front of a tent in Gaza's Tel al-Sultan region - Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty Images

01:26 PM GMT

Gaza health system ‘more than on its knees’, WHO warns

Gaza’s health system is “more than on its knees”, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, with Palestinians forced to risk their lives to find food, water and other supplies.

“The system in Gaza is on its knees, it’s more than on its knees,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva. “All the lifelines in Gaza have more or less been cut.”

Mr Lindmeier said the crisis had created a “desperate situation” for Gazans trapped by the conflict in the enclave.

“People are so desperate for food, for fresh water, for any supplies that they risk their lives in getting any food, any supplies to support their children, to support themselves,” he added. “The food supplies have been cut off deliberately. Let’s not forget that.”

Israel has said the failure to get enough aid into Gaza to meet humanitarian needs is due to UN distribution failures.


12:46 PM GMT

Brazil says Israeli military has no ‘ethical limits’

Brazil’s government has accused Israel’s military of having no “ethical or legal limits” in the wake of Thursday’s deadly aid convoy incident.

“Humanity is failing the civilians of Gaza. And it’s time to prevent further massacres,” Brazil’s foreign ministry in a statement, reiterating previous calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Israeli troops patrol Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis
Israeli troops patrol Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis - Xinhua/Shutterstock

12:34 PM GMT

EU clears €50 million payment to UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees

The European Commission has cleared a €50 million payment to the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

The funds had been under review following Israeli claims some of the organisation’s staff had participated in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack.

Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters the money would be released “early next week” after UNRWA agreed to a “series of conditions” including an EU-led audit, with a further €32 million to follow later.

The Commission had initially planned to make a single payment of €82 million to the agency, but like many of UNRWA’s other big donors, it reviewed its funding plans after Israel made its allegations concerning the Hamas attack.


12:20 PM GMT

Germany demands Israel ‘fully investigate’ aid convoy deaths

Germany’s foreign minister has called on Israel to conduct a thorough investigation into the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians awaiting aid deliveries in northern Gaza on Thursday.

“The Israeli army must fully investigate how the mass panic and shooting could have happened,” Annalena Baerbock said.

“People wanted relief supplies for themselves and their families and found themselves dead. The reports from Gaza shock me,” she added.

Ms Baerbock also called for a ceasefire to pause the conflict and for more humanitarian aid to reach the enclave “immediately”.


12:07 PM GMT

A mother’s dilemma over fleeing Gaza: Battle Lines podcast

On this show Middle East correspondent in Jerusalem Nataliya Vasilyeva talks to Venetia Rainey about ongoing ceasefire talks and whether a deal is really as close as Joe Biden claimed.

Then we hear from Jumana Shahin, a mother of one who is stuck in central Gaza and facing the hardest decision of her life: should she try to escape with her family or stay behind to help her people?


11:51 AM GMT

Israeli strike kills Iranian military adviser in Syria: Monitor

An Israeli strike on Syria’s coastal city of Baniyas has killed three people, including an Iranian military adviser, according to a monitoring group.

Three violent explosions shook the centre of the city, on the Mediterranean, during a dawn strike on a villa that sheltered “a group affiliated with Iran”, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The building was destroyed, killing the Iranian military adviser and two other non-Syrians who were with him, the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, added.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on targets in Syria since civil war broke out in the country in 2011. The strikes have mainly targeted Iran-backed forces including militants from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement as well as Syrian army positions.

Iran-backed paramilitaries have bolstered the forces commanded by Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the 2011 conflict.

Israel’s strikes in Syria have increased since its war with Hamas began on October 7.


11:39 AM GMT

US demands answers from Israel over Gaza aid convoy deaths

The US is urgently seeking answers from Israel after its troops opened fire on a crowd of Gazans awaiting aid deliveries in the besieged enclave.

The Israeli military said a “stampede” occurred on Thursday when thousands of Gazans surrounded a convoy of 38 aid trucks near Gaza City, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries, including some people being run over

It admitted some of its troops had opened fire, believing they were threatened.

At least 112 people were killed and nearly 300 others were wounded in Thursday’s incident, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Washington was “urgently seeking additional information on exactly what took place”.

“We have been in touch with the Israeli government since early this morning and understand that an investigation is underway. We will be monitoring that investigation closely and pressing for answers,” he said.

Hamas said the incident could jeopardise talks in Qatar aimed at securing a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages it is holding. When asked if he thought it would complicate the talks, US President Joe Biden said: “I know it will.”


11:15 AM GMT

Latest images from Gaza

Gazans transport the body of a Palestinian killed in Thursday's deadly aid convoy incident
Gazans transport the body of a Palestinian killed in Thursday's deadly aid convoy incident - AFP via Getty Images
Israeli troops conduct operations in Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis
Israeli troops conduct operations in Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis - Xinhua/Shutterstock

11:12 AM GMT

Gaza death toll rises to 30,228, Hamas-run health ministry says

The wartime death toll in Gaza has reached 30,228 people, according to the enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry, which said it had recorded 193 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.

The ministry also said 920 injuries were tallied in the same period in the besieged territory, bringing the total number of wounded during Israel’s nearly five-month-old war against Hamas to 71,377.

The Telegraph was unable to independently verify the figures provided.


11:07 AM GMT

Palestinian children subject to ‘starvation and beatings’ in Israeli prisons, charities say

Palestinian children are being detained without cause and subjected to violence in Israeli military prisons, charities have warned.

Testimonies have been gathered by several organisations from minors detained across Palestinian territories and shared with Save The Children.

They allege “inhumane treatment”, with reports of starvation, beatings and bones being broken by officers.

Read more here.


10:49 AM GMT

EU to ‘delay payment’ to UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees

The European Commission will delay part of a planned €82 million payment to the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) amid allegations some of its staff were involved in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, Reuters has reported.

The Commission plans to make the payment in installments over time, rather than with a single lump sum, people familiar with the matter told the news agency.

UNRWA provides aid and basic services to Palestinians caught up in the war in Gaza but was thrown into crisis after Israel alleged in January that 12 of the agency’s 13,000 staff in the enclave were involved in the Hamas attack on the country.

UNRWA dismissed all the accused staff but many major donors, including the United States, Britain and several European Union countries, suspended payments to the agency or said they would not approve new funding until the matter was resolved.

In a statement on January 29, the European Commission set out three conditions it expected UNRWA to meet before any further transfer of aid from Brussels.

It said it expected an audit into how the agency prevents the involvement of staff in terrorist activities, a strengthening of its internal investigation unit and a review to confirm that no staff took part in the Oct. 7 attacks.


09:50 AM GMT

Latest images from Gaza

Smoke rises above the Gaza Strip amid clashes near the Erez crossing
Smoke rises above the Gaza Strip amid clashes near the Erez crossing - Oren Ziv/AFP via Getty Images
Israeli troops conduct a patrol in Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis
Israeli troops conduct a patrol in Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis - Xinhua/Shutterstock

09:40 AM GMT

Colombia suspends Israel arms purchases after aid convoy deaths

Colombia’s leftist President Gustavo Petro has suspended weapons purchases from Israel, accusing it of committing “genocide” in Gaza.

“Asking for food, more than 100 Palestinians were killed by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. This is called genocide and recalls the Holocaust,” Mr Petro said.

“The world must block Netanyahu. Colombia is suspending all arms purchases from Israel.”

Israel is one of the main providers of weapons to the South American country’s security forces, which are engaged in a decades-long conflict with leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug cartels.

Mr Petro is a vociferous critic of Israel’s campaign in Gaza.

Just days after the start of the war in the enclave, Israel said it was “halting security exports” to Colombia after its president accused defence minister Yoav Gallant of using language about the people of Gaza similar to that used by the Nazis during the Holocaust.


09:09 AM GMT

‘Palestinian Lady Gaga’ tipped to sing in Eurovision

A singer known as the “Palestinian Lady Gaga” is in line to take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which risks being overshadowed by the Israel-Hamas war.

Bashar Murad, whose hits include Intifada on the Dance Floor, has vowed to bring “a Palestinian voice” to the kitsch extravaganza, if he wins a public vote in Iceland to compete on behalf of the country.

Eurovision has strict rules to prevent political content in the contest and could disqualify an entry it deems to break the rule.

Organisers are scrutinising Israel’s entry October Rain, which is being sung by 20-year-old Eden Golan. It is feared the lyrics of the ballad might not be solely about the weather but a veiled reference to Hamas’s Oct 7 attack on Israel.

Read more here.

Palestinian musician Bashar Murad
Palestinian musician Bashar Murad - David Corio/Redferns

09:02 AM GMT

Israel making ‘every effort’ on hostage release deal

Israel will not give up on seeking a deal with Hamas for the release of hostages still held by the terror group in the Gaza Strip, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz has said.

“We are working on a deal, every effort should be made to bring the hostages home,” Army Radio quoted Mr Gantz as saying. “This is a task for everyone and is the highest priority.”

His remarks came as a march to Jerusalem organised by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum continued for a third day.

The four-day march from southern Israel is aimed at upping pressure on Israel’s government to secure the release of some 134 captives still being held by Hamas. Several of the hostages are presumed to be dead.


08:48 AM GMT

China ‘strongly condemns’ Gaza aid convoy deaths

China has “strongly condemned” the killing of dozens of Palestinians during Thursday’s incident in northern Gaza.

“China is shocked by this incident and strongly condemns it,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

She added Beijing was urging all “relevant parties, especially Israel, to cease fire and end the fighting immediately, earnestly protect civilians’ safety, ensure that humanitarian aid can enter, and avoid an even more serious humanitarian disaster.”


08:22 AM GMT

Latest images from Gaza

Palestinians survey scenes of destruction in the Jabaliya refugee camp
Palestinians survey scenes of destruction in the Jabaliya refugee camp - Mahmoud Essa/AP
Israeli soldiers stand guard in the Gaza Strip
Israeli soldiers stand guard in the Gaza Strip - Ilia Yefimovich/Avalon

08:17 AM GMT

Macron demands immediate ceasefire

French President Emmanuel Macron has demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, calling the situation there “terrible”.

“Deep indignation at the images coming from Gaza where civilians have been targeted by Israeli soldiers,” he said.

“I express my strongest condemnation of these shootings and call for truth, justice, and respect for international law,” the French leader added in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.


08:15 AM GMT

UN chief calls for independent investigation into Gaza aid convoy incident

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an independent investigation into Thursday’s deadly incident.

Speaking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines ahead of a regional summit, Mr Guterres said he was “shocked” by the latest episode in the war.

Responding to questions on the failure of a recent UN Security Council resolution seeking a ceasefire, he added that worsening geopolitical divides have “transformed the veto power into an effective instrument of paralysis of the action of the Security Council.”

“I am totally convinced that we need a humanitarian ceasefire and we need the unconditional and immediate release of hostages and that we should have a Security Council able to achieve these objectives,” Mr Guterres said.