1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
ConflictsMiddle East

Israel-Hamas war: Blinken visits region to press for truce

Published February 5, 2024last updated February 5, 2024

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the Middle East to discuss hostage negotiations and humanitarian aid to Gaza. Meanwhile Israeli forces and Hamas militants are fighting in Khan Younis. DW has more.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks from the plane upon arriving at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024
Blinken has repeatedly traveled to the region since the conflict erupted in OctoberImage: Mark Schiefelbein/AP/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is again touring the Middle East, stopping in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank
  • US President Joe Biden urges lawmakers to "swiftly pass" bipartisan agreement that includes funding for Israel and Gaza
  • Israeli forces kill dozens of Palestinian militants in Khan Younis
Skip next section UNRWA official says food convoy hit in Gaza
February 5, 2024

UNRWA official says food convoy hit in Gaza

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said a food convoy in Gaza was struck by the Israeli Navy, which controls the waters of the territory.

"This morning a food convoy waiting to move into northern Gaza was hit by Israeli naval gunfire," UNRWA's Gaza chief, Thomas White, wrote on social media.

He said that no one was injured in the incident, sharing images of a truck with a damaged cargo trailer.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the incident, but said it was looking into the report.

Skip next section Spain announces €3.5 million for beleaguered UNRWA
February 5, 2024

Spain announces €3.5 million for beleaguered UNRWA

Spain will send an additional €3.5 million ($3.8 million) in aid to the UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told lawmakers Monday.

He said Spain had no plans to stop supporting UNRWA's work, describing it as "indispensable."

The Spanish government contributed €18.5 million directly to UNRWA in 2023.

Eighteen major donors to UNRWA, including the United States, Japan and Germany, suspended funding after allegations emerged that a dozen of its Palestinian employees were suspected of playing a role in the October 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas.

UNRWA, which provides food and runs schools, clinics and other essential services in Gaza, employs some 13,000 people there, most of them Palestinians.

Skip next section OECD warns Red Sea attacks add to inflationary pressures
February 5, 2024

OECD warns Red Sea attacks add to inflationary pressures

Attacks on Red Sea shipping lanes could add to inflationary pressures the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Monday.

The Paris-based organization raised its 2024 economic outlook on Monday, saying it anticipated the world economy to grow by 2.9% this year, better than the 2.7% predicted last November.

It warned, however, that the situation in the Middle East posed a risk.

"Geopolitical risks remain high, particularly in relation to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East following the terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas," the OECD said.

It estimated that if a surge in shipping costs continued, annual OECD import price inflation could increase by close to 5 percentage points, adding 0.4 percentage points to consumer price inflation after about a year.

Houthi rebels said that they were attacking ships linked to Israel as a show of support to the Palestinians. US-led forces have responded with strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

Skip next section Kurdish fighters killed in drone strike on US base in Syria
February 5, 2024

Kurdish fighters killed in drone strike on US base in Syria

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said six of its fighters had been killed in an overnight drone strike on a US military base in eastern Syria.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq — a loose alliance of Iranian-backed militants opposed to US support for Israel in Gaza — claimed the drone attack "against the US occupation base in the al-Omar oil field."

The US military did not immediately comment on the incident and it was not clear if any of its soldiers were injured in the attack. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants targeted the Kurdish-led SDF section inside the base.

A US-led coalition that includes the SDF is fighting the remnants of the "Islamic State" terror group in Syria. 

Skip next section Fierce fighting in Khan Younis
February 5, 2024

Fierce fighting in Khan Younis

The Israeli military said its troops continued to conduct "targeted raids" in central and northern Gaza.

In Khan Younis, forces killed "dozens of terrorists who ambushed the troops throughout the city," it added.

The navy also attacked Hamas targets and supported the ground forces, as Israel's military focuses on Khan Younis, seen as a militant stronghold. 

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said on Telegram it carried out several attacks on Israeli soldiers in Khan Younis. 

Residents reported shelling in the areas of eastern Rafah and Khan Younis on Monday morning. 

Israel says Khan Younis is where militants prepared for the October 7 attack, and that high-ranking Hamas officials are hiding there.

The Gaza Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled area said 128 people were killed overnight in the besieged territory.

 An Israel artillery unit fires towards Gaza
There was persistent fighting in Khan Younis to the south of GazaImage: Dylan Martine/REUTERS
Skip next section Biden urges Congress to pass Senate aid package
February 5, 2024

Biden urges Congress to pass Senate aid package

US President Joe Biden urged lawmakers to pass a bipartisan Senate agreement to bolster border security and provide aid to Israel and Ukraine.

Senators announced a $118 billion (€109.5 billion) bipartisan bill on Sunday but it faces an uncertain future amid opposition from hardline Republicans.

"I urge Congress to come together swiftly pass this bipartisan agreement," Biden said.

The legislative package includes around $20 billion for US border security measures, $60 billion for Ukraine and $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel.

The proposal also includes $10 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine.

"Get it to my desk so I can sign it into law immediately," Biden said. 

You can read the full report on the Senate package by clicking here

Skip next section Blinken's Middle East visit starts in Saudi Arabia
February 5, 2024

Blinken's Middle East visit starts in Saudi Arabia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is embarking on his fifth visit to the Middle East since October.

His visit comes amid escalating tensions in the Middle East as the United States carried out strikes on Iranian-linked targets in Iraq and Syria as well as on Houthi rebel sites in Yemen.

Blinken will focus on advancing talks on the return of hostages abducted by Hamas and affiliated armed groups in exchange for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza. It's thought some 132 hostages are still being held, more than a dozen of whom are assumed dead.

Ahead of the trip, Blinken also stressed the importance of "urgently addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza" after aid groups have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the devastating impact on the besieged territory during nearly four months of war.

Blinken's first stop is Saudi Arabia, but he will also visit Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank, the State Department said. 

Hamas says it's considering Gaza cease-fire proposal

lo/kb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)