The Latest | Gaza families bid a tearful goodbye to critically ill kids leaving for treatment abroad

Families bid a tearful goodbye to over a dozen critically ill children who left Gaza for treatment abroad on Thursday. It’s the first medical evacuation since the territory’s sole travel crossing shut down in early May after Israeli forces captured it, Palestinian officials say.

Kamela Abukweik burst into tears after her son got on the bus heading to the crossing with her mother. Neither she nor her husband were cleared to leave.

“He has tumors spread all over his body and we don’t know what the reason is. And he constantly has a fever,” she said. “I still don’t know where he is going.”

Israeli authorities say 68 people — 19 sick and injured children plus their companions — have been allowed out of the Gaza Strip and into Egypt. It was not clear where they would receive treatment.

The nearly nine-month Israel-Hamas war has devastated Gaza’s health sector and forced most of its hospitals to shut down. Dr. Mohammed Zaqout, the head of Gaza’s hospitals, said over 25,000 patients require treatment abroad, including some 980 children with cancer, a quarter of whom need “urgent and immediate evacuation.”

International criticism is growing over Israel’s campaign against Hamas as Palestinians face severe and widespread hunger. The eight-month war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, and people there are now totally dependent on aid. The top United Nations court has concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,600 people in Gaza, according to the territory's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.


— Gunfire, lawlessness and gang-like looters are preventing aid distribution in Gaza, an official says.

— A Palestinian was shot, beaten and tied to an Israeli army jeep. The army says he posed no threat.

— The U.S. military shows reporters the pier project in Gaza as it takes another stab at aid delivery.

Ship attacked in Red Sea in latest maritime assault likely carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

— Man who police say urged ‘Zionists’ to get off NYC subway train faces criminal charge.

— Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at

Here’s the latest:

Thousands of Israelis demonstrate for cease-fire and hostage release deal

JERUSALEM — Thousands of people demonstrated in central Jerusalem late Thursday, calling on the Israeli government to agree to a cease-fire deal with Hamas that would free dozens of hostages held by the militant group.

The crowd marched through central Jerusalem and gathered near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence. Many blew horns, held posters of captive hostages and chanted anti-Netanyahu slogans and called on him to to resign.

Police accused protesters of disturbing the peace and moved to break up the gathering after a group ignited a large fire on a central street.

The country has grown increasingly divided as the war in Gaza has dragged on and cease-fire efforts have faltered, with tens of thousands of people joining months of anti-government protests across the country.

Blinken says Israel appears to be speeding up humanitarian aid deliveries into Gaza but hasn't fully implemented commitments

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Israel appears to be acting on requests for speed up humanitarian aid deliveries into Gaza but that its commitments need to be fully implemented to secure the safe delivery of assistance to civilians in dire need.

Blinken said Thursday that he had raised the matter with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at a meeting in Washington earlier this week and told him of the “urgent challenges” that need to be addressed to keep aid flowing into areas in desperate need of food, water, medicine and other basic necessities.

“Over the past week or so, we’ve been working to address urgent challenges that are making it difficult to deliver the necessary humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza who so desperately need it, particularly when it comes to the security of deliveries and those delivering the assistance,” Blinken said before meeting with the U.N.’s coordinator for Gaza aid, Sigrid Kaag, at the State Department.

“I raised these concerns clearly and directly with Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, who was here just a few days ago, and I think we’ve seen over the last couple of days some progress in Israel committing to address some of these,” Blinken said. “It’s good and important that Israel is addressing these very concrete needs, but they have to be implemented as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose.”

Kaag said it was critical that aid not only be delivered to Gaza but also distributed to people in need. “There’s an absence of almost anything anyone could possibly imagine,” she said. “So it’s our task indeed, not only to get the aid to Gaza, but also to have the ability to distribute it safety and securely.”

Israeli military says it bombed targets in Lebanon after militants fired 35 rockets

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it has struck more targets in Lebanon after militants fired 35 rockets into northern Israel.

The barrage came in response to an earlier Israeli strike that killed a Hezbollah militant. Israel says most of the rockets were intercepted and there were no injuries from the rocket fire.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah began striking Israel almost immediately after the war in Gaza began in October. Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire nearly every day since then, displacing tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border. Hezbollah says it will only stop the attacks if there is a truce in Gaza.

The fighting has escalated in recent weeks, raising fears of a full-blown war.

Israeli strikes have killed more than 400 people in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah and other militants, but also over 80 civilians and non-combatants. In northern Israel, 16 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed by strikes launched from Lebanon.

US-built pier in Gaza will be removed again due to weather, US officials say

WASHINGTON — The U.S.-built military pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip could be pulled up again as soon as Friday due to expected rough sea conditions, two U.S. officials said.

The pier will be pulled as the U.S. is looking at alternative ways to get aid into Gaza, including potentially using an existing Israeli pier in nearby Ashdod as an alternative route, one of the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military planning.

This would be the third time weather has disrupted pier operations. The floating pier was anchored back on Gaza’s shoreline on June 19 after heavy seas and high winds led the military to disconnect it from the beach. In May, similar conditions forced a two-week pause in operations after the pier broke apart and four U.S. Army vessels ran aground, injuring three service members, one critically.

The Pentagon has said previously it was likely going to have to be shut down the pier by the end of the summer due to weather conditions.

While the pier has been effective in getting millions of pounds of food into Gaza, much of that aid is still piling up in a secure holding yard just onshore instead of making it through to areas where it’s needed most. The U.N. has halted distribution from the pier pending the release of the results of a security review.

The pier cannot supply Palestinians with anywhere near the level of aid they need, the head of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean region said Monday. Aid groups have regularly criticized the plan to deliver aid to Gaza by sea as ineffective and a distraction that has taken pressure off Israel to open land border crossings that can deliver aid in larger numbers.


Associated Press writer Tara Copp contributed.

Canada sanctions four Israelis accused of ‘extremist settler violence’ in West Bank

OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada’s foreign minister is imposing sanctions on four Israelis she accuses of “extremist settler violence” in the occupied West Bank.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says she was in the region recently and heard from Palestinian families who have been forced to leave their homes and farming lands as a direct result of violence and threats by extremist settlers.

The sanctions announced Thursday apply to four men who Canada's government accuses of “violent and destabilizing actions against Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank.”

All four were listed by the U.S. and U.K. earlier this year.

They include David Chai Chasdai, whom the U.S. State Department has accused of leading a rampage in which multiple vehicles and buildings were set on fire and one civilian was killed.

Yinon Levi has regularly led settlers to assault Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, Washington says, setting their fields on fire and threatening more violence if they don’t leave.

Moshe Sharvit “repeatedly harassed, threatened, and attacked Palestinian civilians and Israeli human rights defenders,” according to the State Department, including making 100 Palestinians flee after ordering them to leave.

Zvi Bar Yosef was accused by Washington of “repeated violence against Palestinians” and blocking access to their lands.

Joly says Canada is sending a clear message that acts of extremist settler violence are unacceptable and that perpetrators of such violence will face consequences.

Some 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli military rule for over a half-century. Around 500,000 Israelis reside in hundreds of settlements and outposts, which are segregated and tightly guarded communities.

The army says it tries to protect all residents, but critics say that soldiers often turn a blind eye to settler violence.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men protest military enlistment ruling by Israel's high court

JERUSALEM -- Several hundred ultra-Orthodox men on Thursday blocked a major highway in central Israel for two hours to protest a Supreme Court decision ordering young religious men to enlist for military service.

Military service is compulsory for most Jewish men and women in Israel. But politically powerful ultra-Orthodox parties have won exemptions for their followers to skip military service and instead study in religious seminaries.

This long-standing arrangement has bred widespread resentment among the broader public – a sentiment that has grown stronger during the eight-month war against Hamas. Over 600 soldiers have been killed in fighting, and tens of thousands of reservists have been activated, harming their careers, businesses and family lives.

The Supreme Court this week said the system of exemptions amounts to unequal treatment of different segments of the population and ordered the army to begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men.

Ultra-Orthodox parties and their followers oppose any change in the system. The parties are key members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition and could potentially force new elections if they decide to leave the government in protest.

Israel says 68 sick and injured children plus companions leave Gaza in first medical evacuation since May

JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities say 68 sick and injured children and their companions have been allowed out of the Gaza Strip and into Egypt in the fist medical evacuation since May, when the territory’s sole travel crossing was shut down.

COGAT, the Israeli military body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said Thursday that the evacuation was carried out in coordination with officials from the United States, Egypt and the international community.

The children and their companions left the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing, and the patients were to travel to Egypt and further abroad for medical treatment.

The nearly nine-month Israel-Hamas war has devastated Gaza’s health sector and forced most of its hospitals to shut down. Health officials say thousands of people need medical treatment abroad, including hundreds of urgent cases.

UN Security Council resolution again demands Yemen's Houthi rebels halt attacks on shipping

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council is again demanding that Yemen’s Houthi rebels halt all attacks on ships in the region and is calling for the conflicts disrupting maritime security to be addressed — without naming the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza.

The resolution, which also extends the requirement that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres report monthly on Houthi attacks, was approved Thursday by a vote of 12-0 with Russia, China and Algeria abstaining.

It condemns the Houthis’ ongoing attacks, which the rebels say are aimed at pressuring Israel to end the war in Gaza, and emphasizes the need to address its root causes – “including the conflicts contributing to regional tensions and the disruption to maritime security in order to ensure a prompt, efficient and effective response.”

The Iranian-backed Houthis have targeted more than 60 vessels mainly in the Red Sea by firing missiles and drones. Their campaign has killed four sailors, seized one vessel and sank two since November.

A U.S.-led airstrike campaign has targeted the Houthis since January, with a series of strikes on May 30 killing at least 16 people and wounding 42 others, the rebels say.

The U.N. resolution “urges caution and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation in the Red Sea and the broader region.” It also encourages all parties to pursue diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation.

The resolution is a follow-up to one adopted Jan. 10 that condemned and demanded an immediate halt to Houthi attacks. The earlier resolution's requirement for the secretary-general to report monthly to the council on the attacks expires on July 1.

Speaking on behalf of the United States and Japan who sponsored Wednesday’s resolution, U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters after the vote that the measure underscores “the importance of the exercise of navigational rights and freedoms of vessels of all states in the Red Sea” and demands the Houthis immediately halt their attacks.

“These attacks threaten international peace and security with negative implications for global commerce and flows of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Anna Evstigneeva said Moscow supports the safety of navigation in the waters adjacent to Yemen including the Red Sea, but she accused the West of using the January resolution to justify its attacks on the Houthis and said the new resolution included similar provisions.

She stressed that the January resolution “cannot legitimize either the aggressive actions of the U.S. so-called coalition and that of their satellites in the Red Sea, or their missile strikes and bombardments targeting the territories of sovereign countries.”

“We urge all participants in the coalition to immediately halt illegal attacks and to transition to political and diplomatic means to reduce tensions in the waters adjacent to Yemen,” Evstigneeva said.

Israel says it killed Hezbollah member involved in drone attacks

BEIRUT — Israel’s military says it has killed a Hezbollah member who was involved in firing explosive drones into Israel.

The military posted a video of Thursday’s drone strike that killed the Hezbollah member while riding a motorcycle in the village of Sohmor in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Hezbollah earlier said one of its members, Ali Ahmad Alaeddine, was killed adding that his funeral will be held on Friday in Yohmor.

The Lebanon-Israel border has been witnessing almost daily exchanges of fire since the Israel-Hamas war began in early October. Hezbollah says it will only stop fighting when Israel’s ends its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli strikes have killed more than 400 people in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah and other militants, but also over 80 civilians and non-combatants. In northern Israel, 16 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed by strikes launched from Lebanon.

21 critically ill children are set to leave Gaza for medical treatment abroad

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Twenty-one critically ill children were set to exit Gaza on Thursday in the first medical evacuation since the territory’s sole travel crossing was shut down in early May, Palestinian officials said.

The nearly nine-month Israel-Hamas war has devastated Gaza’s health sector and forced most of its hospitals to shut down.

Family members bid a tearful goodbye to the children as they and their escorts left the Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis bound for the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing with Israel. It was not clear where they would receive treatment. The Israeli military body that coordinates civilian affairs in Gaza did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At a press conference at Nasser Hospital on Thursday, Dr. Mohammed Zaqout, the head of Gaza’s hospitals, said the evacuation of the 21 children was being done in coordination with the World Heath Organization and three American charities.

Zaqout said over 25,000 patients in Gaza require treatment abroad, including some 980 children with cancer, a quarter of whom need “urgent and immediate evacuation.”

He said the cases included in Thursday’s evacuation are “a drop in the ocean” and that the complicated route through Kerem Shalom and into Egypt cannot serve as an alternative to the Rafah crossing.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, the only one available for people to travel in or out, shut down after Israeli forces captured it during their operation in the city early last month. Egypt has refused to reopen its side of the crossing until the Gaza side is returned to Palestinian control.

Six of the children were transferred to the Nasser Hospital from Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City earlier this week. Five have malignant cases of cancer and one suffers from metabolic syndrome. That evacuation was organized by the World Health Organization, which could not immediately be reached for comment.

Residents flee Gaza City neighborhoods amid heavy bombing

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military has ordered new evacuations from the Gaza City neighborhoods that were heavily bombed and largely emptied early in the war. The latest orders apply to Shijaiyah and other neighborhoods where residents reported heavy bombing on Thursday.

First responders with Gaza’s Civil Defense, which is part of the Hamas-run government, said airstrikes hit five homes, killing at least three people and wounding another six. It said rescuers were still digging through the rubble for survivors.

Gaza City was heavily bombed in the opening weeks of the war, which began with Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack into Israel. Israel ordered the evacuation of all of northern Gaza, including the territory’s largest city, later that month. Hundreds of thousands of people have remained in the north, even as Israeli troops have surrounded and largely isolated it.

Shijaiyah residents in a messaging group shared video showing large numbers of people fleeing the neighborhood on foot with their belongings in their arms. They said several families were isolated by the fighting.

There was no immediate word from Gaza’s Health Ministry, which tracks casualties from the conflict.

Ship attacked in Red Sea in latest maritime assault likely carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A ship traveling through the Red Sea on Thursday reported being hit in an attack likely carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, a private security firm said, the latest in the campaign targeting shipping over the Israel-Hamas war.

The ship issued a radio call off the coast of the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, saying it had been struck, the private security firm Ambrey said. A warship in the area was responding to the attack, Ambrey added.

It wasn’t clear if anyone was hurt or if the ship was damaged in the assault on the vessel. Neither the British nor U.S. militaries immediately reported the attack.

The Houthis did not immediately claim the attack. However, it can take hours or even days for them to acknowledge their assaults.

Israeli soldier killed and 16 wounded during West Bank raid

TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli military says a soldier was killed and 16 others were wounded during a military operation in the West Bank overnight. It said Thursday that an explosive device detonated in the area of the northern city of Jenin, which has seen frequent raids and gunbattles with militants in recent years.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian casualties. Israel says it has arrested over 4,000 Palestinians in the West Bank since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack ignited the war in Gaza, including around 1,750 suspected of being Hamas members.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says over 550 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war. Most have been killed during Israeli raids and violent protests, although the dead also include innocent bystanders and Palestinians killed in attacks by Jewish settlers. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state.

Israeli military releases photos it says prove slain charity worker was a militant

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military has released photos that it says show a staffer with the aid group Doctors Without Borders wearing military fatigues at a gathering of Gaza militants.

The military says that Fadi al-Wadiya, who was killed in an airstrike earlier this week, was a “significant operative” in the Islamic Jihad group and was involved in its rocket program.

Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, did not respond to a request for comment on the photos, which were released late Wednesday. The aid group said earlier that it had no indication he was a militant.

The photos released by the military appear to show al-Wadiya wearing military fatigues in meetings with Islamic Jihad militants, but they could not be independently authenticated.

Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani, an Israeli military spokesman who shared the photos on the social media platform X, said that al-Wadiya tried to leave Gaza for military training in Iran when he joined MSF in 2018, without providing evidence.

“Al-Wadiya exploited his position in a humanitarian organization to further terrorist operations,” Shoshani said.

Doctors Without Borders said al-Wadiya, a medic and physiotherapist, worked for the group between 2018 and 2022, before resuming work with the charity during the war. It said he was killed while riding his bicycle to work on Tuesday.

The group said he was the sixth of its employees to be killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, calling their deaths “unacceptable.”

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, asked about the competing claims on Wednesday, said the United States was not immediately able to resolve them.

The armed wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian militant groups are highly secretive, and fighters rarely identify themselves publicly for fear of being targeted in Israeli strikes.