The Israeli army has apparently found the body of the German Hamas hostage Shani Louk in the Gaza Strip. The Arab League has called for a peace mission for the Palestinian territories. Spain refuses to allow ships carrying arms to Israel to enter the port. All developments here in the news ticker.

11:46 a.m.: The Israeli armed forces say they are continuing their operations in the southern city of Rafah as well as in the center and north of the Gaza Strip. An airstrike killed an Islamic Jihad commander in eastern Rafah, the military said on Saturday. The man is said to be the logistics chief of the Hamas-allied pro-Iranian militia responsible for Rafah. Israeli troops also destroyed Islamist weapons depots and missile sites.

Fierce fighting has been raging for days in the refugee settlement of Jabalia in northern Gaza. Israeli soldiers killed several Islamists in armed clashes in the last 24 hours, the military announced on Saturday morning. They also destroyed several tunnel shafts and a missile emplacement.

According to Palestinian statements, the Israeli attacks in Jabalia cause many civilian casualties. At least 15 people were killed and another 30 injured when Israeli tanks shelled the entrance to a shelter, the Palestinian news agency Wafa wrote on Saturday. The information could not be independently verified.

Near the so-called Nezarim corridor, Israeli soldiers encountered a squad of Islamists equipped with rocket-propelled grenades. An Israeli drone eliminated the enemy fighters, the army said in a statement. The information could not initially be independently verified. The Nezarim Corridor is occupied by the Israeli army. It divides the Gaza Strip roughly in the middle into two parts.

Saturday, May 18, 12:35 a.m.: According to the army, a wanted terrorist was killed in an Israeli air strike in Jenin in the West Bank. The man was responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, including the murder of an Israeli in May 2023, the Israeli military announced on Saturday night. Palestinian reports also said the man was killed in the attack on a building. The Israeli army said a fighter plane and a helicopter attacked a command center of a local terrorist network. It said there were several terrorists inside, some of whom were involved in shootings in the Jenin area and wanted to carry out further terrorist attacks.

5:40 p.m.:  The Israeli army says it has found the body of the German-Israeli Shani Louk in the Gaza Strip. Army spokesman Daniel Hagari announced this on Friday. Louk was abducted to the coastal strip in a Hamas terrorist attack on October 7th and was later declared dead. At the time of the unprecedented attack, she had been at the Supernova festival in southern Israel along with hundreds of other young people.

In addition to Louk, according to the army spokesman, two other bodies of festival visitors were found. All three were murdered at the festival, Hagari said. Their bodies were recovered that night during a special operation by the army and the domestic intelligence service Shin Bet in the Gaza Strip. It was an operation based on intelligence information. After the dead were identified, the families were informed. “We will continue to fight to bring the hostages home,” Hagari said.

Friday, May 17th, 10:41 a.m.: Spain’s left-wing government wants to deny entry into Spanish ports in the future for cargo ships loaded with weapons for Israel. Transport Minister Oscar Puente said on Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told journalists in Brussels late on Thursday evening: “The last thing the Middle East needs right now is more weapons. He needs more peace.”

Spain is one of the harshest critics in Europe of Israel’s military action against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The left-wing government announced in February that arms exports to Israel had been suspended in October. Foreign Minister Albares emphasized that the decision to deny entry to all cargo ships loaded with weapons for Israel in the future is in line with this.

The controversy over the issue broke out in Spain on Tuesday. The focus was on the German ship “Borkum”, which was scheduled to arrive in the eastern Spanish port of Cartagena this Friday. Pro-Palestinian movements and critics of the Israeli government called on Madrid to deny entry or detain the ship because it was carrying weapons for Israel. Several government ministers rejected this claim and maintained that the ship’s final destination was the Czech Republic.

The left-wing party Podemos nevertheless filed a complaint with the State Court in Madrid. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Margarita Robles assured that all necessary investigations had been carried out into “Borkum” and that the papers were in order. However, the Spanish position was “clear in any case,” she stressed. “We demand an immediate ceasefire,” because “what is happening in Gaza is absolutely unacceptable.”

10:32 p.m.: The foreign ministers of 13 countries are warning Israel of a major offensive in Rafah and are calling for more help for the people in the Gaza Strip. All G-7 countries except the USA have signed it.

In the four-page letter dated Wednesday to Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, which the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” was able to view, the ministers first emphasized Israel’s right to self-defense and condemned Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7th. At the same time, however, they are calling on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in unusually clear terms to do everything in its power to alleviate the devastating and worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The 13 foreign ministers also reiterate that they reject a comprehensive military operation by Israel in Rafah and warn of the possible catastrophic consequences for the civilian population. They also demand that Israel open all border crossings in the coastal strip for aid to ensure supplies to the Palestinian civilian population, including the crossing in Rafah.

The foreign ministers of the G-7 countries Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and Canada signed the letter, as well as their colleagues from Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and Sweden. According to information from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, the initiative for this was taken by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the G-7 foreign ministers meeting in Capri in mid-April. Italy, as chair of the G-7, has been negotiating the text since then.

5:16 p.m.: At a summit of the Arab League in Bahrain, member states called for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The 22-member organization called on Thursday for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza war and strongly condemned the Israeli army’s advance into the refugee-filled city of Rafah in the southern coastal region. Irreversible steps must be taken towards a two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian territories, it said in the final declaration. The annual meeting was held in Manama, Bahrain for the first time this year.

The Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler of the kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman, stressed that the “violent aggression” against the Palestinian brothers must be stopped. It is necessary for the international community to assume this responsibility. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa called for an international peace conference for the Middle East in his speech. The summit took place under exceptional circumstances, said Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit. The Israeli aggression against the people of Gaza represents a historic turning point. The Arab people will not forget the blind violence of the Israeli occupation.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was also present at the summit. He again called on the parties in the Gaza war to agree on a ceasefire. “The war in Gaza is an open wound that threatens to infect the entire region,” warned Guterres.

You can read more about the Iranian attack on Israel on the next page. .