The Latest | UN food aid collapses in Rafah as Israeli leaders decry war crime accusations

The United Nations says it’s no longer able to distribute food aid in the southern Gaza city of Rafah due to lack of supplies and insecurity

The United Nations said Tuesday that it was no longer able to distribute food aid in the southern Gaza city of Rafah due to lack of supplies and insecurity.

The humanitarian crisis has escalated over the past two weeks since Israel launched an incursion into Rafah that closed a vital border crossing, vowing to root out Hamas fighters. The fighting sent hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing out of Rafah, many of whom were displaced earlier in the war.

A U.S. official said Tuesday that Israel has addressed many of President Joe Biden's concerns about a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah, although the Americans stopped short of greenlighting a total Israeli assault on the city.

Israel and the United States are also seeking to contain fallout after chief prosecutor of the world's top war crimes court requested arrest warrants for leaders of both Israel and Hamas. Among the prosecutor's allegations against Israel was using "starvation as a method of warfare." Israeli and U.S. leaders harshly condemned the accusations.

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

At least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which doesn't distinguish between combatants and civilians. Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians has been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.

Currently:

Israel tries to contain the fallout after some allies support ICC prosecutor's request for warrants

— Israeli officials seize AP equipment and take down live video shot of northern Gaza, citing new media law

— Analysis: Iran's nuclear policy of pressure and talks likely to go on even after president's death

Days of funerals begin for Iran's president and others killed in crash

— Israeli forces kill at least seven Palestinians in a West Bank raid

— Yemen's Houthi rebels say they shot down another U.S. drone

Follow AP's coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

SENATOR SAYS DOCTOR WHO SAVED HER LIFE FINALLY ABLE TO LEAVE GAZA

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth says the doctor she credits with saving her life when she was a military helicopter pilot in Iraq in 2004 has left Gaza.

Duckworth tweeted Tuesday that American Dr. Adam Hamawy had safely left the embattled enclave. She said on the social platform X that she was grateful to President Joe Biden “for his coordination and attention as we worked to secure this evacuation.”

There were 35 American and other international doctors who went to Gaza in volunteer teams to help one of the territory's few functioning hospitals. The teams were trapped beyond the scheduled end of their two-week mission after Israel moved into the southern Gaza city of Rafah and seized the Rafah crossing into Egypt. That closed the main entry and exit point for international humanitarian workers.

Some of the doctors left Friday after talks between U.S. and Israeli authorities, but Hamawy and several others had stayed behind, according to the Palestinian American Medical Association.

Duckworth was flying a military helicopter in Iraq in 2004 when she was hit by an RPG, causing injuries that cost her her legs. She has credited Hamawy with saving her life.

U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS ISRAEL ADDRESSED MANY OF BIDEN'S CONCERNS OVER RAFAH INVASION

WASHINGTON — Israel has addressed many of President Joe Biden’s concerns over its long-simmering plan to carry out a widescale military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah aimed at rooting out Hamas, a senior Biden administration official said Tuesday.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity, said that in talks over the weekend with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Israeli officials incorporated many changes into their planning that seem to meet concerns about deepening an operation in an area that has been flooded with Palestinian refugees during the seven-month war.

Biden had previously said he opposed a widescale operation in Rafah that did not prioritize the safety of innocent Palestinian civilians.

The official said the administration stopped short of greenlighting the Israeli plan, but he said Israeli officials’ altered planning suggested they were taking the American administration’s concerns seriously.

Some 400,000 people are believed to still be in Rafah after around 900,000 rushed to escape, according to COGAT, the Israeli military office in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs.

The U.N says some 1.1 million people in Gaza — nearly half the population — face catastrophic levels of hunger and that the territory is on the brink of famine. The humanitarian crisis deepened after Israeli forces pushed into Rafah on May 6.

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AP writer Aamer Madhani in Washington contirbuted.

MINISTER ORDERS RETURN OF SEIZED ASSOCIATED PRESS BROADCAST EQUIPMENT

JERUSALEM — The Israeli communications minister has ordered the return of seized camera and broadcasting equipment to the Associated Press after blocking the news outlet's live video of Gaza.

Israeli officials seized the equipment after accusing the news organization of violating a new media law by providing images to Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar. The network is one of thousands of AP customers, and it receives live video from AP and other news organizations.

The Biden administration, journalism organizations and an Israeli opposition leader put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after officials seized the AP equipment.

“The Associated Press plays a vital role in bringing the news to people in Israel, the United States, and around the world,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said. “Israel should reverse this action immediately.”

Two U.S. officials had said they were in touch with senior levels of the Israeli government about the matter and had privately urged that the decision be rescinded. A third U.S. official said the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, had been given conflicting information from Israeli officials.

At first, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem reported back to Washington that the equipment had been returned. When told that the equipment had not, in fact, been returned, Lew and the embassy sought clarification and were told that the issue was still in the process of being resolved.

One official said Israel has “indicated to us that they acknowledge that the equipment needs to be returned.” That official, like the two others, spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private diplomatic discussions.

Israeli officials seized an AP camera and broadcasting equipment in southern Israel, accusing it of violating the law related to Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar. The network is one of thousands of AP customers, and it receives live video from AP and other news organizations.

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AP writer Matthew Lee contributed from Washington.

U.N. SAYS ITS WAREHOUSES IN RAFAH ARE INACCESSIBLE DUE TO FIGHTING

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Agency helping Palestinian refugees reported that its distribution center and the U.N. World Food Program’s warehouses in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah “are now inaccessible due to ongoing military operations,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

When asked if he was referring to Israeli military operations, Dujarric said he spoke to a colleague at the U.N. agency known as UNRWA just before Tuesday’s U.N. briefing in New York and “They’re not sticking around to see who’s doing the firing.”

“It’s an active combat zone. Bullets are flying, so not to sound glib, so they have no access to those areas. But it is clear ... that the parties who are in conflict are fighting,” Dujarric said.

Asked about the ramifications of suspending aid, he said simply: “People don’t eat.”

Edem Wosornu, the U.N. humanitarian office’s operations director, told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that the Rafah crossing has remained closed and inaccessible for humanitarian aid and fuel deliveries since May 17.

“Around 82,000 metric tons of supplies are stranded on the Egypt side of the crossing. Food there is spoiling, and medicines are expiring,” she said.

HOSPITAL EVACUATED AFTER ISRAELI FIRE, AND SECOND HOSPITAL SURROUNDED FOR 3 DAYS

CAIRO — The Palestinian Health Ministry says one of the main hospitals still operating in northern Gaza has been evacuated after coming under fire from Israeli forces, while a second has been surrounded by troops.

The two hospitals, Kamal Adwan and Awda, are located in or near Jabalia refugee camp, where Israeli troops have been waging an intensified assault for days against Hamas fighters who the military says had regrouped there.

The ministry said Tuesday that Kamal Adwan hospital was “targeted” by Israeli troops, forcing around 150 staff and dozens of patients to evacuate the facility, including intensive care patients and infants in incubators. The ministry did not elaborate but said they fled “under fire from shelling.”

The Israeli military did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Awda hospital issued a statement Tuesday saying it had been surrounded by Israeli troops for the past three days and that an artillery shell had hit its fifth floor. On Monday, the international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said Awda had run out of drinking water and was encircled by Israel tanks.

Awda and Kamal Adwan Hospitals were besieged by Israeli troops for days in December, causing heavy damage to both and forcing them to shut down. They resumed partial operations since then. Israel has claimed in general that Hamas uses hospitals as bases or to keep weapons, an accusation hospital staff deny.

Israel’s 7-month-old offensive in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, has devastated the territory’s health sector. Around two-thirds of Gaza’s original 36 hospitals have been forced to shut down, and the rest only partially function.

GERMANY OFFERS CONDOLENCES FOR THE DEATH OF IRAN'S PRESIDENT RAISI

BERLIN — The German government on Tuesday expressed its condolences for the death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

German Chancellor Scholz said in a letter of condolence to Iran’s vice president that “we have received the news of the helicopter crash and the death of President Raisi.”

“Our condolences go out to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the families of those killed in the crash,” Scholz added.

ISRAEL'S GALLANT SLAMS ICC PROSECUTOR'S REQUEST FOR ARREST WARRANTS

JERUSALEM — Israel’s defense minister on Tuesday slammed the international court prosecutor's request for arrest warrants against himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Hamas leaders.

Yoav Gallant said prosecutor Karim Khan created a parallel between the militant group and Israel, calling that “despicable and disgusting.” He noted that Israel is not party to the International Criminal Court and does not recognize its authority, and stressed that Israel has a right to defend itself.

“Prosecutor Karim Khan’s attempt to deny the state of Israel the right to defend herself and ensure the release of the hostages held in Gaza, must be rejected explicitly,” he said.

Khan accused Netanyahu, Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of warcrimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel's isolation over the war in Gaza.

ISRAELI FORCES KILL 7 IN RAID ON WEST BANK MILITANT STRONGHOLD, PALESTINIANS SAY

JERUSALEM — Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, killing at least seven and wounding several, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israeli military said it struck militants during an operation into the city. In addition to the seven fatalities, the Palestinian Health Ministry said nine people were injured. Among those killed was Dr. Ossayed Kamal Jabareen, the surgery specialist at Jenin Governmental Hospital who was killed on his way to his work, according to Dr. Wissam Abu Baker, the hospital’s director.

The raid was ongoing and the casualty numbers could rise.

The raid into Jenin is part of months of surging violence in the Palestinian territory. Nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of the war in Gaza, part of an Israeli crackdown on militancy in the territory. Attacks by Palestinians against Israelis have also increased.

Saraya al-Quds, the military arm of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, said its fighters battled Israeli forces raiding Jenin.

Israel has arrested more than 3,000 Palestinians since the start of the war.

ISRAELI OFFICIALS SEIZE ASSOCIATED PRESS CAMERA USED FOR LIVE BROADCAST OF GAZA

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials have seized a camera and broadcasting equipment belonging to The Associated Press in southern Israel.

Officials accused the news organization of violating the country’s new ban on Al Jazeera. The Qatari satellite channel is among thousands of clients that receive live video feeds from the AP and other news organizations.

The AP denounced the move. Officials from the Communications Ministry arrived at the AP location in the southern town of Sderot on Tuesday afternoon and seized the equipment.

FRANCE AND BELGIUM SUPPORT WAR CRIMES COURT'S REQUEST FOR ARREST WARRANTS

France and Belgium each released statements supporting the world's top war crimes court and its chief prosecutor's request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas.

International Criminal Court top prosecutor Karim Khan accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel's isolation over the war in Gaza.

“France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations,” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Monday, around the same time Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib posted on X, “Crimes committed in Gaza must be prosecuted at the highest level, regardless of the perpetrators," along with a statement.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the move as disgraceful and antisemitic. United States President Joe Biden also lambasted the prosecutor and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas.

SRI LANKA DECLARES NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING FOR IRANIAN PRESIDENT

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The Sri Lankan government declared Tuesday a national mourning day for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The government also ordered all state institutions to hoist the national flag at half-staff.

Raisi visited Sri Lanka in April to inaugurate a long-delayed hydropower and irrigation project. The project, valued at $514 million, was started in 2010. It was scheduled for completion in 2015 but was delayed by the sanctions, technical issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raisi was the first Iranian leader to visit Sri Lanka since then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited in 2008.

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