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Hamas targets Tel Aviv with 'major barrage of rockets'

Photo: Jack Guez Agence France-Presse Relatives of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Wafaa Shurafa – Associated Press, Samy Magdy – Associated Press, Tia Goldenberg – Associated Press Dayr al Balaḩ

Published at 9:55 a.m. Updated at 12:40 p.m.

  • Middle East

Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza that set off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv for the first time in months on Sunday. It is a show of resistance more than seven months after the start of Israel's massive air, sea and land offensive.

There is no There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appears to be the first long-range rocket attack fired from Gaza since January. Hamas' military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

Palestinian militants have sporadically fired rockets and mortar shells at communities along the border with Gaza , and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group's military wing said later Sunday it had fired rockets at nearby communities.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles entered Israel after being launched from the Rafah area in southern Gaza, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion. “A number” of projectiles were intercepted, according to the army.

Earlier on Sunday, aid trucks entered Gaza from southern Israel as part of a new deal to bypass the Rafah crossing with Egypt, after Israeli forces seized the Palestinian side earlier this month. However, it was not immediately clear whether humanitarian groups could access aid due to the fighting.

Egypt refuses to reopen its side of the Rafah crossing until control of the Gaza side is returned to the Palestinians. He agreed to temporarily divert traffic through Israel's Kerem Shalom Terminal, Gaza's main cargo terminal, after a call between US President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi.

However, the Kerem Shalom crossing has become largely inaccessible due to the Israeli offensive in Rafah. Israel says it has allowed hundreds of trucks to enter, but UN agencies say it is generally too dangerous to collect the aid.

The war between Israel and Hamas has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and fighters in its count. The Health Ministry said the bodies of 81 people killed by Israeli strikes had been taken to hospitals in the past 24 hours.

About 80 percent of 2.3 million Gaza residents have fled their homes and UN officials say parts of the territory are facing famine.

Hamas has launched the war with its October 7 attack on Israel, in which Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and captured about 250 hostages. Hamas still holds around 100 hostages and the remains of around 30 others after most of the remaining hostages were freed in a ceasefire last year.

Southern Gaza cut off from aid

Egyptian state television channel Al-Qahera broadcast images of what it said were trucks entering Gaza via Kerem Shalom. Khaled Zayed, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent in the Sinai Peninsula, which manages the delivery of aid from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, said 200 aid trucks and four fuel trucks were expected to be sent on Sunday in Kerem Shalom.

Southern Gaza has been largely cut off from aid since Israel launched what it called a limited incursion into Rafah on the 6 may. Since then, more than a million Palestinians have fled the city. Most had been displaced from other parts of Gaza.

Northern Gaza still receives aid via two land routes that Israel opened during the global outrage after Israeli strikes killed seven aid workers in April.

A few dozen trucks enter Gaza daily via a floating dock built by the United States, but its capacity remains well below the 150 trucks per day hoped for by the authorities. Humanitarian groups estimate that 600 trucks per day are needed.

Netanyahu resists pressure

< p>Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel must take Rafah to eliminate the remaining Hamas battalions and achieve “total victory” over the militants, who have recently regrouped in other parts of Gaza where the army operated.

Mr. Netanyahu faces growing pressure to reach a deal with Hamas to release the remaining hostages, which Hamas has refused without guarantees of an end to the war and a full withdrawal of Israeli troops. The prime minister ruled out the possibility.

Clashes broke out between police and protesters in Tel Aviv on Saturday, after thousands gathered again to demand the return of the hostages. They called for Mr. Netanyahu to resign and for new elections.

The war is also leaving Israel increasingly isolated on the world stage.

Last week, three European countries announced they would recognize a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested arrest warrants for Mr. . Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders.

On Friday, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah. The UN's top court also said Israel must allow war crimes investigators access to Gaza.

Israel is unlikely to complies with it. Israel has condemned the ICC's decision to issue arrest warrants, says it is doing everything possible to avoid harming civilians, and blames Hamas for their deaths because the militants operate in densely populated residential areas.

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