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The Israeli army increases its pressure on Rafah

Photo: Eyad Baba Agence France-Presse Children play with surgical gloves in Rafah.

France Media Agency to Rafah

Posted at 9:53 a.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army carried out a series of deadly strikes from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip on Friday, while increasing its pressure on Rafah, where its soldiers are operating in the center of the city against fighters Palestinians from the Islamist movement Hamas.

In the early hours of the day, witnesses reported Israeli strikes near Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, new epicenter of the war that has pitted Israel against Hamas for almost eight months.

The army confirmed its presence in central Rafah, saying its “commandos operating” in the area had discovered Hamas “rocket launchers”, “tunnels” and “weapons”, and “destroyed a warehouse weapons.”

Also in Rafah, an airstrike “targeted and eliminated” a Hamas fighter. The army also announced the death of two soldiers in Gaza, bringing to 292 the toll of its soldiers killed since the entry of Israeli troops into the Palestinian territory at the end of October.

In the center of the coastal strip, nighttime strikes on two separate sites left 11 dead, including two children, according to medical sources in Deir al-Balah and in the Nousseirat camp. The army claimed to have “eliminated several terrorists” in this area.

Despite the wave of international indignation raised by the bombing on Sunday of a displaced persons camp in Rafah, which left 45 dead according to Hamas, the army continues its deadly offensive in this overpopulated city, launched on May 7 with the objective declared to eliminate the last battalions of the Palestinian movement.

In total, some 300 Hamas fighters have been killed since the start of the Rafah offensive, according to the army.

In a remote interview with the French channel LCI, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as “anti-Semitic slander” the accusations according to which Israel is allegedly deliberately targeting or starving civilians in Gaza.

He added that Palestinian “civilian casualties relative to combatant casualties” represented “the lowest rate that 'we saw in an urban war.'

Humanitarian crisis

The ground deployment in Rafah, long spared from fighting, has allowed Israel to take control of a 14-kilometer buffer zone along the Egyptian border south of the Gaza Strip.

“The Philadelphia Corridor served as an oxygen pipeline for Hamas, through which it regularly transited weapons to the Gaza Strip,” said Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari.

However, Egypt has denied the existence of such tunnels under the border, accusing Israel of seeking to justify its offensive in Rafah.

Cairo and Israel also blame each other for blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid through the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing point between the Palestinian territory and Egypt, closed since the Israeli army is assumed control of the Palestinian side in early May.

The Rafah crossing point is crucial for the entry of humanitarian aid, including the population of the Strip Gaza is in desperate need. Because the specter of famine looms over the besieged Palestinian territory, where aid is trickling in, notably via the Israeli Erez crossing.

Many Palestinians , most of whom have already been displaced several times by the war, continue to flee Rafah, carrying their belongings on their shoulders, in cars or on carts pulled by donkeys.

The closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings has worsened the humanitarian crisis by preventing 22,000 wounded and sick people from leaving Gaza for treatment, and by preventing aid from entering, the Gaza media office lamented on Friday. government of Gaza.

Cyprus, the European Union country closest to the Gaza coast, assured that humanitarian aid transported by sea was maintained, after 'a pier built by the United States was damaged by bad weather.

“Our goal is to be able to help half a million people per month, and we believe this goal is achievable,” said Cypriot government spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis.

Also read

  • Rafah still under bombs despite international outrage
  • Israel takes control of border area between Gaza and Egypt


The war was sparked by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 , which led to the death of more than 1,189 people, mainly 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 being held in Gaza, of whom 37 have died, according to the army.

In retaliation, Israel has vowed to wipe out the Islamist movement, which it considers a terrorist organization, just like the United States and the European Union. Its all-out offensive has so far left 36,224 dead in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas administration's Ministry of Health.

While indirect negotiations for a ceasefire are at a standstill, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that “the resistance” had “informed the mediators once again that the demands” of the movement, including a permanent ceasefire and a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, were “non-negotiable.”

The Qatar-based leader accused Israel of “using negotiations as a cover to continue its aggression.”

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