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Hello from The National in Abu Dhabi. Here's your morning newsletter with all the top stories from the Mena region.


The death toll from the Israel-Gaza war in the Palestinian territory has risen to at least 17,997, with the Health Ministry reporting that the destruction in the enclave is ”beyond description“. Meanwhile Qatar is continuing its efforts to help arrange another prisoner exchange. Israel says the war may continue for at least two months. Follow the latest developments here.

Israeli tanks have reached Khan Younis in the heart of Gaza's south as attacks also intensified in the north

An Al Qassam Brigades spokesman said that the militant group will not release the other Israeli hostages until Israel accepts the detainee exchange deal and all of its conditions. Mediation talks are continuing to secure a new Gaza ceasefire despite Israeli bombardment that is “narrowing the window” for a successful outcome, Qatar's Prime Minister said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was “imperative” the Israeli military uses US weapons in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country does not accept Israel using the October 7 Hamas attack as justification for collective punishment of millions of Palestinians in Gaza.

The UN General Assembly is likely to vote again on a draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict, after the US on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have threatened to attack ships heading to Israel unless aid is allowed into Gaza.

'It was torture': men stripped, blindfolded and detained by the Israeli army recount what appears to be a widening practice by the military of detaining men and boys in the Gaza Strip.


Significant divisions between nations have been highlighted at a majlis discussion convened at Cop28 as the UN climate change conference in Dubai enters its final stage of negotiations.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President, said he was not satisfied with the speed and pace of talks despite the fact some progress had been made.

The International Energy Agency has said that pledges made so far at Cop28 will only reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent of what is needed by 2030

Protesters and energy leaders have made their voices heard at the UN climate conference in the blue zone, as consensus grows that momentous changes lie ahead.

Our edotiral team writes that it's not too late for a Cop28 deal but urgency is needed.

Follow the latest on the climate summit here.


Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has ordered an investigation into the security forces responsible for an area where an attack on the US embassy was launched.


Egyptians began casting their votes yesterday in a presidential election overshadowed by the Gaza war and a crushing economic crisis. Many Egyptians have said they will not vote as the poll is widely expected to end in a win for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.


Top EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell renewed calls on Iran to free a Swedish diplomat following the beginning of his trial in Tehran.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, imprisoned Narges Mohammadi, denounced Iran's “tyrannical and anti-women religious” government in an acceptance speech delivered by her children in her absence.


Raghida Dergam asks: What did Putin achieve with his latest trip to the Middle East?

Damien McElroy explains how shipping can go full steam ahead towards net-zero.

On today's Trending Middle East podcast, the UAE announces a new green-powered action plan.


Noor Riyadh illuminates the Saudi capital with immersive artworks.

Mona Farag
Gulf Affairs Editor

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