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Israel pummels Gaza as troops push into central Rafah


Israeli forces on Friday struck targets throughout the Gaza Strip, with witnesses reporting air raids across the southern metropolis of Rafah, the most recent focus of the almost eight-month battle.

Israel launched its army incursion into Rafah in early May regardless of worldwide objections over the security of civilians sheltering within the metropolis on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

Witnesses stated on Friday Israeli strikes hit the Rafah space in addition to central Gaza’s Nuseirat whereas intense bombardment was reported within the north.

Strikes on two separate places killed a complete of 11 individuals in a single day, medical sources at a hospital in Deir al-Balah and the Nuseirat refugee camp reported.

The Israeli army stated its forces had been “operating in central Gaza”, the place it earlier introduced forces had discovered rocket launchers, weapons and “tunnel shafts”.

An air strike “targeted and eliminated” a militant within the Rafah space, the army stated.

In central Gaza, additional air strikes “eliminated several terrorists who operated near” troops, the army stated with out elaborating.

Israel, which has repeatedly vowed to destroy Hamas after the Palestinian militant group attacked southern Israel on October 7, stated on Wednesday its forces had taken over the 14-km Philadelphi hall alongside the Gaza-Egypt border, the place it alleges weapons had been being smuggled.

Egypt, a longtime mediator within the battle, has but to formally touch upon the Israeli takeover, which officers have beforehand stated may violate the 2 nations’ 1979 peace deal.

Amid stalled diplomatic efforts in direction of a ceasefire, Hamas stated it had knowledgeable mediators it could solely agree a “comprehensive” truce settlement together with a hostage-prisoner swap if Israel halts its “aggression”.

Ismail Haniyeh, the pinnacle of Hamas’s Qatar-based political workplace, reiterated in a Friday that the group’s core calls for — together with a everlasting ceasefire and full Israeli withdrawal — “are non-negotiable”.

He accused Israel of “using negotiations as a cover to continue its aggression”, saying Hamas “refuses to be a part of these manoeuvres”.

On Thursday, Israel stated its forces had killed about 300 Palestinian militants in Rafah since launching its army operation within the metropolis.

A stream of civilians fled Rafah, taking their belongings on their shoulders, in automobiles or on donkey-drawn carts.

Aid at sea

Before the Rafah offensive started, the United Nations stated as much as 1.4 million individuals had been sheltering within the metropolis. Since then, a million have fled the world, the UN company for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has stated.

The United Nations has warned of looming famine in Gaza.

The Israeli seizure of the Rafah crossing has additional slowed sporadic deliveries of help for Gaza’s 2.4 million individuals and successfully shuttered the territory’s primary exit level.

However, Israel stated on the weekend that help deliveries had been stepped up, together with by way of its Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza.

Cyprus, the European Union’s easternmost member, stated humanitarian help shipped to Gaza was being saved at sea off the territory’s coast, after a US-built pier was broken in unhealthy climate.

Cypriot authorities spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis stated Friday the maritime hall was “uninterrupted” and the pier could be “back on track” inside days.

“Our goal… is to be able to help half a million people per month, and we think that this goal is achievable,” he stated.

In an interview on French channel LCI, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed as “anti-Semitic slander” accusations Israel was intentionally concentrating on and ravenous Gazan civilians.

Mr. Netanyahu stated the ratio of militants to civilians killed to this point within the Israeli offensive was “the lowest rate we have seen in an urban war”.

Car, home hit

The Gaza battle was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 assault on southern Israel, which resulted within the deaths of 1,189 individuals, principally civilians, in response to an AFP tally based mostly on Israeli official figures.

Militants additionally took 252 hostages, 121 of whom stay in Gaza, together with 37 the military says are useless.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at the very least 36,224 individuals in Gaza, principally civilians, in response to the Hamas-run territory’s well being ministry.

A medical official at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza’s Deir al-Balah stated eight individuals, together with two youngsters, had been killed in an air strike that hit a home in Al-Bureij refugee camp.

Another supply at Nuseirat’s Al-Awda Hospital reported three deaths in a strike on a automobile.

An AFP correspondent noticed Israeli army autos southwest of Gaza City, within the territory’s north.

The army introduced the deaths of two troopers in Gaza, taking to 294 the variety of Israeli troops killed because the begin of floor operations in late October.

An Israeli strike Sunday that sparked a fireplace and killed dozens in a displacement camp in Rafah drew a wave of contemporary condemnation and prompted two days of discussions on the UN Security Council.

Israel has stated it focused a Hamas compound and killed two senior members.

After the strike, Algeria offered a draft decision to the UN Security Council demanding an instantaneous ceasefire and the discharge of all hostages, however it was unclear when it could be voted on.

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