Israel-Hamas war, day 155: an aid ship ready to embark for Gaza, fifteen Houthi drones shot down off the coast of Yemen... What you need to know

The first aid ship is ready to set sail from Cyprus for the famine-hit Gaza Strip, where Israeli aerial bombardments have killed 30,960 people in the territory since the outbreak of war, according to the Gaza health ministry

Israel-Hamas war, day 155: an aid ship ready to embark for Gaza, fifteen Houthi drones shot down off the coast of Yemen... What you need to know

The first aid ship is ready to set sail from Cyprus for the famine-hit Gaza Strip, where Israeli aerial bombardments have killed 30,960 people in the territory since the outbreak of war, according to the Gaza health ministry. the Gaza Strip, administered by Hamas. Among them, 82 were killed in the last twenty-four hours, the ministry said in a statement, reporting a total of 72,524 wounded since the start of the war.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that it had carried out targeted raids on Friday in the Gaza Strip, and had killed more than twenty fighters in the Khan Younes sector (South). After a little more than five months of war between Israel and the Islamist movement, the humanitarian situation is becoming more catastrophic every day in the besieged Palestinian territory while the aid provided by land or air remains largely insufficient.

Two NGOs are soon "ready" to send a boat from Cyprus to Gaza loaded with 200 tonnes of food, the first cargo destined for this war-devastated territory via a maritime corridor that the European Commission hopes to see open this weekend .

“Everything will be ready today to be able to leave,” Laura Lanuza, spokesperson for the Spanish NGO Open Arms, a partner in this project of the Spanish chef’s American NGO, told Agence France-Presse on Saturday. -American José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK). “Everything will depend on the arrival of authorizations and permits, we don’t know if it will be today or tomorrow,” added Ms. Lanuza.

She added that the Israeli authorities – who authorized the principle of this operation like the Cypriot authorities – were inspecting the cargo of “200 tonnes of food, rice, flour, cans of tuna”, in the port of Larnaca .

WCK "already has staff in Gaza" since the start of the war, and the NGO is "building a pier" to be able to unload the cargo once the boat arrives in the coastal territory, the spokesperson said of Open Arms, who did not wish to specify where it was built, “for security reasons”.

American and allied forces shot down fifteen drones fired by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the US Middle East Military Command (Centcom) announced on Saturday. Four of these drones were shot down by France, one of the coalition allies, according to the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.

Shortly after, the Houthis claimed responsibility for a large-scale attack, claiming to have fired missiles at an “American” commercial vessel and launched drones at American warships in “the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.” It was one of the biggest attacks by Yemeni rebels since they began a campaign of drone and missile strikes against ships transiting the Red Sea, vital for global trade, in November in a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

This “large-scale” attack occurred before dawn in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Centcom said. Coalition forces and U.S. military command assessed that the drones posed “an imminent threat to merchant ships, the U.S. Navy and coalition ships in the region,” according to the same source.

The heads of the Israeli and American intelligence services, the Mossad and the CIA, met on Friday as part of negotiations around a truce in Gaza, announced the Israeli authorities, who accuse Hamas of hardening its position.

“Mossad chief David Barnea met yesterday [Friday] with CIA chief Bill Burns as part of ongoing efforts to move toward another deal to release the hostages” held in Gaza, a statement released said. by the services of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on behalf of the Mossad.

“Contacts and cooperation with the mediators continue continuously, with a view to trying to reduce differences and move towards agreements,” the statement continued. But, “for the moment, Hamas is sticking to its positions, like someone who is not interested in an agreement and is trying to inflame the region during Ramadan,” accuse the Israeli authorities in this text.

The Israeli government on Saturday accused Canada and Sweden of making a "serious mistake" by resuming aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), which Israel accuses of employing "more than 450 terrorists » in Gaza.

“The resumption of funding to UNRWA will not change the fact that this organization is part of the problem and will not be part of the solution in the Gaza Strip,” wrote Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat Israeli, in a message published on X, accusing Canada and Sweden “of continuing to ignore the involvement of UNRWA employees in terrorist activities.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a speech in Istanbul on Saturday that Turkey “stands firmly” behind Hamas leaders. “No one can get us to call Hamas a terrorist organization. Turkey is the country that talks about everything openly with the leaders of Hamas,” declared the Turkish head of state.

A fervent defender of the Palestinian cause, President Erdogan has been one of the most virulent critics of Israel since the start of the war in Gaza, launched in retaliation for the bloody attack of October 7, 2023 on Israeli soil by the Islamist movement Palestinian.