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Israeli strikes kill 13 in a southern Gaza city that could possibly be the following goal within the conflict

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Palestinians have a look at the destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Israeli airstrikes killed over a dozen folks in a single day and into Thursday in Rafah within the Gaza Strip, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas’ cease-fire phrases and vowed to broaden the offensive into the southern Gaza city.

More than half of strip’s inhabitants has fled to Rafah, on the principally sealed border with Egypt, which can be the principle entry level for humanitarian help. Egypt has warned that any floor operation there or mass displacement throughout the border would undermine its four-decade-old peace treaty with Israel.

The in a single day strikes killed not less than 13 folks, together with two girls and 5 kids, in response to the Kuwaiti Hospital, which obtained the our bodies. At the scene of one of many strikes, residents used their cellphone flashlights as they dug by way of the rubble with pick-axes and their naked arms.

“I wish we could collect their whole bodies instead of just pieces,” stated Mohammed Abu Habib, a neighbor who witnessed the strike.

Israel’s four-month-old air and floor offensive — among the many most harmful in current historical past — has killed over 27,000 Palestinians, pushed most individuals from their houses and pushed 1 / 4 of the inhabitants towards hunger.

Netanyahu has stated the offensive will proceed and broaden till “total victory” over Hamas, which began the conflict by launching a wide-ranging assault into southern Israel on Oct. 7 during which militants killed some 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and took round 250 hostage.

Israel has additionally vowed to carry again the over 100 captives nonetheless held by Hamas after a lot of the relaxation had been freed throughout a cease-fire in November in alternate for the discharge of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

But each of these targets seem more and more elusive, as Hamas re-emerges in elements of northern Gaza, which was the primary goal of the offensive and suffered widespread destruction. Israel has solely rescued one hostage, whereas Hamas says a number of have been killed in airstrikes or failed rescue missions.

Netanyahu stated preparations had been underway to broaden the offensive into Rafah, the place lots of of 1000’s of people that fled from different areas are crowded into squalid tent camps and overflowing U.N.-run shelters.

The Palestinian dying toll from 4 months of conflict has already reached 27,840, in response to the Health Ministry within the Hamas-run territory. The ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its figures however says a lot of the lifeless have been girls and youngsters.

International help organizations have warned that any main operation in Rafah would compound what’s already a humanitarian disaster within the besieged coastal enclave.

“If they aren’t killed in the fighting, Palestinian children, women and men will be at risk of dying by starvation or disease.” stated Bob Kitchen, of the International Rescue Committee. “There will no longer be a single ‘safe’ area for Palestinians to go to.”

Outside the hospital the place our bodies from the in a single day strikes had been introduced, kinfolk wept as they stated farewell to their family members. Warda Abu Warda stated she felt helpless.

“Where do we go after Rafah? Do we go to sea?” she requested.

The United States, Qatar and Egypt are attempting to dealer one other cease-fire settlement to make sure the discharge the remaining hostages. But Hamas has demanded an finish to the conflict, a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the discharge of lots of of Palestinian prisoners, together with high-profile militants.

Netanyahu rejected these calls for as “delusional” on Tuesday and stated Israel would by no means conform to any deal that leaves Hamas in partial or full management of the territory it has dominated since 2007.

But visiting Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated an settlement was nonetheless doable and that negotiations would proceed, the most recent signal of a rising divide between the 2 shut allies on the best way ahead. A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Thursday for extra negotiations.

Netanyahu is underneath mounting strain from households of the hostages and the broader public to carry them residence, even when it requires a take care of Hamas. At least one senior Israeli official has acknowledged that saving the captives and destroying Hamas is perhaps incompatible.

Hamas continues to be holding over 130 hostages, however round 30 of them are believed to be lifeless, with the overwhelming majority killed on Oct. 7. The group is broadly believed to be holding the captives in tunnels deep underground and utilizing them as human shields for its prime leaders.

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