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Bombings in Rafah, after Israel takes control of a buffer zone

Photo: Omar Al-Qattaa Agence France-Presse The Israeli army said it came under attack in Jabalia, specifying that a plane had struck fighters, killing two.

France Media Agency to Rafah

Posted at 2:24 p.m.

  • Middle East

Intense artillery fire and bombardments hit the town of Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on Thursday, where the Israeli army announced that it controlled a strategic buffer zone between the Palestinian territory and Egypt.

Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said Wednesday that his country's war with Hamas could continue for “another seven months.” , in order to achieve the objective of destroying the Palestinian Islamist movement, in power in Gaza since 2007 and author of an unprecedented attack in Israel on October 7.

Despite international outrage over a deadly bombing on Sunday of a displaced persons camp in Rafah, the Israeli army continues its strikes and its ground offensive in the overcrowded city, launched on May 7 to, according to it, eliminate the last Hamas battalions.

After beginning operations in the east of the city, it advanced towards the west, leading to the exodus in three weeks of approximately a million people, according to the UN, most of them displaced again on the roads towards already overpopulated areas of the besieged territory.

“Oxygen Hose”

The army said on Thursday it had targeted 50 targets across the Gaza Strip in recent days.

Artillery fire took place in Zeitoun, in the southeast of Gaza City (north), according to AFP journalists. And Israeli forces targeted Beit Lahia and the Jabalia camp, according to witnesses. The army said it came under attack in Jabalia, specifying that a plane had struck fighters, killing two.

In the center of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians were burying loved ones killed in a nighttime strike in Nousseirat, according to an AFP journalist. Children were looking at piles of rubble from a building, some of which were trying to salvage some objects.

In Rafah, witnesses reported intense shelling by artillery and shootings in the center and west of the city. An AFP journalist observed the flight of many people from the western sector, where at least four bodies were taken to the Nasser hospital after a bombing, according to this establishment.

The Israeli army announced Wednesday evening that it had taken control “in recent days” of the Philadelphia Corridor, a 14-kilometer-long buffer zone that borders the Egyptian border along the southern Gaza Strip, near Rafah.

“The Philadelphia corridor served as an oxygen pipe for Hamas, through which it regularly transported weapons to the Gaza Strip,” said the spokesperson for the Israeli army, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

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“Underground terrorist infrastructure”

He added that the military had “discovered a sophisticated underground terrorist infrastructure at east of Rafah with a length of one and a half kilometers to about a hundred meters from the crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The Egypt denied the existence of tunnels under the border, claiming that Israel was thus seeking to justify its offensive in Rafah.

Cairo and Israel also pass the blame on each other the blocking of the delivery of humanitarian aid through the Rafah border post, the only crossing point between the Palestinian territory and Egypt, since the Israeli army took control of it, on the Palestinian side, in early May .

This crossing point is crucial for the entry of aid which the population of the Gaza Strip, devastated by almost eight months of war, desperately needs. The UN and NGOs regularly warn of a risk of famine in the territory, where products enter in dribs and drabs via other passages.

The ministry of Health in Gaza also called on Thursday for the opening of all crossing points, in particular to “facilitate the evacuation of the sick and injured”.

Call for a peace conference

In Israel, the center-right party of Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet, filed a Thursday bill to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections, provoking a response from Likud, the right-wing party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Such a scenario would mean “a capitulation to international pressure and a fatal blow to efforts to free our hostages,” according to Likud.

The October 7 attack in Israel has caused the deaths of more than 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to a count carried out by AFP based on the latest official data available.

Of the 252 people taken as hostages during the attack, 121 are still held in Gaza, of whom 37 have died according to the army.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate the Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union, and launched an offensive that has so far killed 36,224 people in the Gaza Strip, according to the Health Ministry of the Hamas administration.

The war has displaced the majority of Gaza's approximately 2.4 million residents and caused a major humanitarian catastrophe.

In Beijing for a forum bringing together China and Arabs, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi called on Thursday to prevent any displacement of Gazans “by force”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping advocated for an “extended peace conference” to end the conflict, saying justice should “not be absent forever.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116