Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Middle East crisis live: Palestinians detained by Israel coming back ‘completely traumatised’, says UNRWA chief

Key events

The US Central Command (Centcom) said that one of two anti-ship ballistic missiles that Yemen’s Houthis targeted the container vessel – M/V MSC SKY II – with in the Gulf of Aden damaged the ship.

“Initial reports indicate there were no injuries; the ship did not request assistance and continued on its way,” Centcom added in a statement released on Tuesday.

The Houthi rebels have made repeated drone and missile strikes since November in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait. American and British forces have responded with multiple strikes on Houthi facilities but have so far failed to halt the attacks.

The Iran-backed Houthis who control much of north-western Yemen have been attacking merchant vessels in the region since November.

The rebel group says it is targeting Israel and its western allies in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

Opening summary

Welcome to our latest live coverage of Israel’s war in Gaza and wider Middle East crisis.

Palestinians detained by Israeli forces are coming back “completely traumatised” and reporting abuses while in captivity, the head of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency has said.

Detainees reported being subjected to a “broad range of ill treatment” including threats of electrocution, being photographed naked, sleep deprivation and having dogs used to intimidate them, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told a media briefing.

Lazzarini’s comments came on the same day that Israel accused UNRWA of having employed more than 450 “terrorists”.

The aftermath of an Israeli strike in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/AP

Here’s a summary of the day’s other main events:

  • The UN’s special envoy on sexual violence in conflict has reported “clear and convincing information” that some women and children hostages held by Hamas have been subjected to rape and sexualised torture. The special envoy, Pramila Patten, also reported that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe sexual assaults, including rape and gang-rape, took place during the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

  • Egyptian and Qatari officials are putting pressure on Hamas negotiators in Cairo to produce a list of hostages to be released as the first step in a phased ceasefire agreement with Israel, according to officials familiar with the talks. International mediators and Hamas delegates were in Cairo on Tuesday for talks to try to secure a pause in the war ahead of Ramadan early next week.

  • Envoys from Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, and the US were expected to meet with Qatari and Egyptian mediators for a third day of negotiations over a six-week truce, the exchange of dozens of remaining hostages for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and the flow of aid to Gaza. Israeli delegates have so far stayed away from the negotiations, with Israeli media reporting that the country’s mediators boycotted the talks after Hamas failed to provide a list of living hostages.

  • A 16-year-old boy has been shot and killed by Israeli security forces during an overnight raid in the al-Amari camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, according to reports. Palestinian news agency Wafa also reports that 55 Palestinians were detained overnight by Israeli security forces. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society states that about 7,400 Palestinians have now been detained by Israel since 7 October.

  • Israel has stepped up its allegations against the UN relief agency for Palestinians (UNRWA), saying that the organisation in Gaza had employed more than 450 “military operatives” from Hamas and other armed groups, and that Israel had shared this intelligence with the UN.

  • The head of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, has told the UN general assembly that the agency is “facing a deliberate and concerted campaign to undermine its operations, and ultimately end them.” UNRWA officials told the Agence France Presse new agency that some its staff had alleged they had been forced to make confessions under “torture and ill-treatment” while being interrogated over the 7 October attack.

  • The deaths of more than 100 people when Israeli forces opened fire near an aid convoy in Gaza was a tragedy that should have been foreseen and could have been prevented, the World Food Programme director for Gaza has said. Matthew Hollingworth also said an aid corridor into northern Gaza was needed urgently to prevent a “man-made” famine there after Palestinians were starved of food at terrifying speed and scale.


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