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Middle East crisis live: Houthis hit ship in latest Red Sea attack

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Hamas reviewing new Israeli ceasefire proposal

Hamas said on Saturday it was reviewing a new Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, AP reports.

It comes as Egypt stepped up its efforts to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas to end the war and prevent an Israeli ground offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said the Palestinian militant group was evaluating Israel’s proposal, and “upon completion of its study, it will submit its response.”

He gave no details of Israel’s offer but said it was in response to a proposal from Hamas two weeks ago. Negotiations earlier in April focused on a six-week cease-fire proposal and the release of 40 civilian and sick hostages in exchange for the liberation of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Hamas’ statement came hours after the end of a high-level Egyptian delegation visit to Israel, though it is still unclear whether Israel’s latest response to Hamas was directly related to Friday’s visit.

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Hamas said on Saturday it was reviewing a new Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, AP reports. It comes as Egypt stepped up its efforts to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas to end the war and prevent an Israeli ground offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said the Palestinian militant group was evaluating Israel’s proposal, and “upon completion of its study, it will submit its response.” He gave no details of Israel’s offer but said it was in response to a proposal from Hamas two weeks ago. Negotiations earlier in April focused on a six-week cease-fire proposal and the release of 40 civilian and sick hostages in exchange for the liberation of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

At least 34,388 Palestinians have been killed and 77,437 others injured in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Saturday. Some 32 have been killed and 69 others wounded over the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

An infant girl has died from extreme heat in Rafah as rising temperatures exacerbate the sanitation crisis for more than 1.7 million internally displaced people lacking adequate shelter and essentials, it has been reported. The update was provided by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) amid growing concerns for the conditions of people living in Gaza.

British troops could be sent to Gaza to assist with delivering aid via a new sea route, BBC News has reported. While the US has previously said its forces would not go ashore, the UK is understood to be considering sending British troops when the aid corridor opens next month. No decision had been made, Whitehall sources are reported to have said.

Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian gunmen who opened fire at them from a vehicle in the occupied West Bank, the military said on Saturday. The military released a photo of two automatic rifles that it said were used by several gunmen to shoot at the soldiers, at an outpost near the flash point Palestinian city of Jenin.

Three people have been killed in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon on Saturday, including two members of Hezbollah, AFP reports, citing statements from the militant group and official media. Hezbollah released statements mourning the deaths of two fighters from the villages of Kafr Kila and Khiam, saying they had been “martyred on the road to Jerusalem”.

Ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels caused “minor damage” to a Panama-flagged oil tanker travelling through the Red Sea on Friday, authorities said. The attack follows an uptick in assaults launched by the Houthis in recent days after a relative lull in their campaign over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, AP reported.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have begun marching in central London calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, set off from Parliament Square shortly before 1pm GMT and will pass through Whitehall before ending at Hyde Park. Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those holding banners at the front of the crowd. Large numbers of Metropolitan Police could be seen around the square.

Iraqi Kurdish ministries of electricity and natural resources said on Saturday that they are working with their partners to restore operations at the Khor Mor gas field in Iraq’s Kurdistan region after output was suspended due to a deadly drone attack. At least four Yemeni workers were killed and two other workers injured in the attack late on Friday, the Kurdish regional government said on X. It said gas supplies to power plants were also halted, resulting in a reduction of approximately 2,500 MW of power generation. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported.

Lebanon has moved towards accepting the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to prosecute violations on Lebanese territory since October, in what Human Rights Watch said on Saturday was a “landmark step” towards justice for war crimes. Lebanon has accused Israel of repeatedly violating its sovereignty and committing breaches of international law over the last six months, during which the Israeli military and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah have traded fire across Lebanon’s southern border in parallel with the Gaza War, Reuters reported.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and several international officials will be in Riyadh this week for talks aimed at pushing for a peace agreement in Gaza to be held on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting, the WEF’s president said on Saturday. “We do have the key players now in Riyadh and hopefully the discussions can lead into a process towards reconciliation and peace,” Børge Brende said at a news conference in Riyadh, adding that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis would be on the agenda.

That’s it from me, Tom Ambrose, and indeed the Middle East crisis live blog for today. Thanks for following along.

SharePalestinians search for bodies and survivors amidst the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike in Al Nusairat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 27 April 2024. Photograph: Mohammed Saber/EPASharePro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters cross paths in London – videoShare

Thousands join pro-Palestine march in central London

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have begun marching in central London calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, set off from Parliament Square shortly before 1pm GMT and will pass through Whitehall before ending at Hyde Park.

Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those holding banners at the front of the crowd. Large numbers of Metropolitan Police could be seen around the square.

Banners and placards could be seen on display, bearing slogans including ‘Stop Gaza Genocide’ and ‘From the river to the sea’.

People protest during a march in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza in London, Britain, April 27, 2024. Photograph: Hollie Adams/ReutersPro-Palestinian protesters hold banners and placards ahead of a march in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza, in London, Saturday, April 27, 2024. Photograph: Thomas Krych/APPro-Palestinian protester holds a megaphone ahead of a march in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza, in London, Saturday, April 27, 2024. Photograph: Thomas Krych/APShare

Lebanon has moved towards accepting the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to prosecute violations on Lebanese territory since October, in what Human Rights Watch said on Saturday was a “landmark step” towards justice for war crimes.

Lebanon has accused Israel of repeatedly violating its sovereignty and committing breaches of international law over the last six months, during which the Israeli military and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah have traded fire across Lebanon’s southern border in parallel with the Gaza War, Reuters reported.

That cross-border shelling has killed at least 70 civilians, including children, rescue workers and journalists, among them Reuters visuals reporter Issam Abdallah, who was killed by an Israeli tank on 13 October, a Reuters investigation found.

Lebanon’s caretaker cabinet voted on Friday to instruct the foreign affairs ministry to file a declaration with the ICC accepting the court’s jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes committed on Lebanese territory since 7 October.

SharePalestinians search for bodies and survivors amidst the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike in Al Nusairat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 27 April 2024. Photograph: Mohammed Saber/EPAShare

Hamas reviewing new Israeli ceasefire proposal

Hamas said on Saturday it was reviewing a new Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza, AP reports.

It comes as Egypt stepped up its efforts to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas to end the war and prevent an Israeli ground offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said the Palestinian militant group was evaluating Israel’s proposal, and “upon completion of its study, it will submit its response.”

He gave no details of Israel’s offer but said it was in response to a proposal from Hamas two weeks ago. Negotiations earlier in April focused on a six-week cease-fire proposal and the release of 40 civilian and sick hostages in exchange for the liberation of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Hamas’ statement came hours after the end of a high-level Egyptian delegation visit to Israel, though it is still unclear whether Israel’s latest response to Hamas was directly related to Friday’s visit.

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Three people have been killed in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon on Saturday, including two members of Hezbollah, AFP reports, citing statements from the militant group and official media.

Hezbollah released statements mourning the deaths of two fighters from the villages of Kafr Kila and Khiam, saying they had been “martyred on the road to Jerusalem”.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency said that “Israeli occupation aircraft carried out two raids today at dawn on the towns of Kafr Shuba and Shebaa”, leading to the death of “citizen Qasim Asaad in the town of Kafr Shuba”.

Israeli strikes have hit multiple villages in southern Lebanon in recent hours, according to the National News Agency said.

Tensions have vastly increased on the Israel-Lebanon border, with Israeli forces and Hezbollah exchanging near-daily fire.

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Updated at 07.43 EDT

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and several international officials will be in Riyadh this week for talks aimed at pushing for a peace agreement in Gaza to be held on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting, the WEF’s president said on Saturday.

“We do have the key players now in Riyadh and hopefully the discussions can lead into a process towards reconciliation and peace,” Børge Brende said at a news conference in Riyadh, adding that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis would be on the agenda.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken will attend the meetings alongside regional leaders including Qatar’s prime minister, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Oman’s crown prince and Bahraini officials, Brende said.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Brende said, would be there to update officials on a round of talks Egyptian negotiators held in Israel on Friday in an effort to restart stalled efforts to end the war in Gaza and return the remaining Israeli hostages, Reuters reported.

“There is now a bit of momentum for negotiations on the hostages and also a possible ceasefire,” Brende said.

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British troops could be sent to Gaza to assist with delivering aid via a new sea route, BBC News has reported.

While the US has previously said its forces would not go ashore, the UK is understood to be considering sending British troops when the aid corridor opens next month.

No decision had been made, Whitehall sources are reported to have said.

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Iraqi Kurdish ministries of electricity and natural resources said on Saturday that they are working with their partners to restore operations at the Khor Mor gas field in Iraq’s Kurdistan region after output was suspended due to a deadly drone attack.

At least four Yemeni workers were killed and two other workers injured in the attack late on Friday, the Kurdish regional government said on X. It said gas supplies to power plants were also halted, resulting in a reduction of approximately 2,500 MW of power generation.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported.

Iraqi president Abdul Latif Rashid and prime minister Masrour Barzani both condemned the attack.

“Our security services must investigate the incident without delay and hold the perpetrators accountable. Preventative measures must also be taken immediately,” Rashid said in a post on Saturday.

“Attacks on energy hubs that power millions of homes in the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi provinces are indefensible. These attacks also sabotage efforts by Erbil and Baghdad to develop the energy sector. They happen with disturbing frequency and amount to war crimes,” Barzani said on Friday.

The US state department said in a statement: “Attacks like this are an affront to Iraq’s sovereignty”.

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At least 34,388 Palestinians have been killed and 77,437 others injured in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since 7 October, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Some 32 have been killed and 69 others wounded over the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

ShareA Palestinian child stands amid the debris of a house destroyed by overnight Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 27, 2024, as the conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas continues. Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesShare

Infant dies as ‘extreme heat’ exacerbates sanitation crisis in Gaza

An infant girl has died from extreme heat in Rafah as rising temperatures exacerbate the sanitation crisis for more than 1.7 million internally displaced people lacking adequate shelter and essentials, it has been reported.

The update was provided by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) amid growing concerns for the conditions of people living in Gaza.

It comes as aid shipments to Gaza from Cyprus resumed late on Friday, a Cypriot source said, with a ship carrying food to the besieged Palestinian enclave after a pause following Israel’s killing of seven aid workers.

The World Central Kitchen NGO paused aid to review its activity in the territory after the early April attack, halting the direct shipments into Gaza from Cyprus.

A small cargo vessel left the port of Larnaca on Friday night with aid donated by the United Arab Emirates, a Cypriot source told Reuters.

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Updated at 06.18 EDT

Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian gunmen who opened fire at them from a vehicle in the occupied West Bank, the military said on Saturday.

The military released a photo of two automatic rifles that it said were used by several gunmen to shoot at the soldiers, at an outpost near the flash point Palestinian city of Jenin.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said security officials confirmed two deaths and the health ministry said two other men were wounded.

There was no other immediate comment from Palestinian officials in the West Bank, where violence has been on the rise as Israel presses its war against Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.

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Ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels caused “minor damage” to a Panama-flagged oil tanker travelling through the Red Sea on Friday, authorities said.

The attack follows an uptick in assaults launched by the Houthis in recent days after a relative lull in their campaign over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, AP reported.

The rebels fired three missiles in the attack, one of which damaged the Panama-flagged, Seychelles-registered Andromeda Star, the US military’s Central Command said.

The private security firm Ambrey described the tanker as being “engaged in Russia-linked trade”. The vessel was travelling from Primorsk, Russia, to Vadinar, India, Ambrey said.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree later claimed the attack early on Saturday in a pre-recorded statement aired by the rebels. He described the tanker as being “directly hit”.

Another vessel, the Antiqua-Barbados-flagged, Liberia-operated Maisha, was also nearby at the time of the assault, the US said. The attack occurred off Mocha, Yemen, near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sank another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration.

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Opening summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the crisis in the Middle East.

A ship has been damaged when it was targeted twice with multiple missiles off Yemen’s coast on Friday, in the latest attack on international shipping in the Red Sea to be claimed by Houthi rebels.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations security agency said the attack on the MV Andromeda Star took place south-west of the Yemeni port of Mokha.

In the first attack, the ship “experienced an explosion in close proximity to the vessel which was felt by the crew on board”, UKMTO said on social media platform X.

“The second attack on the vessel consisted of what is believed to be two missiles, which resulted in damage.”

In other key developments:

Hamas said it was studying the latest Israeli counterproposal regarding a potential ceasefire in Gaza, a day after a delegation from mediator Egypt reportedly arrived in Israel in a bid to jump-start stalled negotiations. Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been unsuccessfully trying to seal a new truce deal in Gaza ever since a one-week halt to the fighting in November saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

An official briefed on the Egyptian delegation’s meeting with Israeli counterparts on Friday said Israel had no new proposals to make. However, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Israel was willing to consider a limited truce in which 33 hostages would be released by the Islamist movement Hamas, instead of the 40 previously under discussion.

Aid shipments to Gaza from Cyprus resumed late on Friday, a Cypriot source said, with a ship carrying food to the besieged Palestinian enclave after a pause following Israel’s killing of seven aid workers. The World Central Kitchen NGO paused aid to review its activity in the territory after the early April attack, halting the direct shipments into Gaza from Cyprus. A small cargo vessel left the port of Larnaca on Friday night with aid donated by the United Arab Emirates, a Cypriot source said.

China will host Palestinian unity talks between Islamist militant group Hamas and its rivals Fatah, the two groups and a Beijing-based diplomat said on Friday. Hamas controls Gaza while Fatah is the movement of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the western-backed Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli occupied West Bank. The two rival Palestinian factions have failed to heal their political disputes since Hamas fighters expelled Fatah from Gaza in a short war in 2007.

Iran’s foreign minister said the crew of a seized Portuguese-flagged ship linked to Israel have been granted consular access and are expected to be freed, Iranian media reported on Saturday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the container vessel MSC Aries with a crew of 25 in the Strait of Hormuz on 13 April, days after Tehran vowed to retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus.

A pro-Hamas Lebanese militant group said on Friday that two of its senior commanders were killed in an Israeli strike in eastern Lebanon. Jamaa Islamiya said in a statement that Mosab Saeed Khalaf and Bilal Mohammed Khalaf “died while carrying out their jihadist tasks… in a Zionist strike in the Bekaa” valley.

A UN probe into Israeli allegations that 19 members of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) participated in the October 7 Hamas attacks has closed one case due to the absence of any evidence from Israel and suspended four others, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday. An independent review led by a former French foreign minister earlier this week said that Israel had yet to provide supporting evidence of its claims which led major donors including the US to suspend funding to the agency.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that any rulings issued by the International Criminal Court would not affect Israel’s actions but would “set a dangerous precedent”. “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to undermine its basic right to defend itself,” Netanyahu said in a statement shared on Telegram.
“While decisions made by the court in the Hague will not affect Israel’s actions, they will set a dangerous precedent that threatens soldiers and public figures.”

Four workers from Yemen were killed in a drone attack on an Emirati-owned gas complex in Iraq’s northern autonomous region of Kurdistan on Friday, Reuters reported citing local officials. A security source confirmed the attack against the site which is owned by the United Arab Emirates firm Dana Gas. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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