Thursday, 23 May, 2024
Thursday, 23 May, 2024
The Daily Post
One lakh more fled Rafah

Ceasefire talks ending ramps Israeli attacks

International Desk

Ceasefire talks ending ramps Israeli attacks

Israeli military has ramped up its attacks in Rafah, southern Gaza, and hit Gaza City while crippling humanitarian aid operations across the Palestinian territory as ceasefire talks ended without a deal, Al Jazeera said yesterday.

More than one lakh people have already fled the southern Gaza city of Rafah since last Monday, the UNRWA said, as Israeli tanks reportedly mass close to built-up areas amid constant bombardment. Palestinian armed groups said that they were targeting Israeli troops to the east. Israel's military has said its ground forces are conducting "targeted activity" in eastern Rafah. The UN also warned that food and fuel were running out because it was not receiving aid through nearby crossings.

Israeli troops took control and closed the Rafah crossing with Egypt at the start of their operation, while the UN said it was too dangerous for its staff and lorries to reach the reopened Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel. It came as Israel's prime minister rejected a threat by the US president to stop supplying some weapons if it launched a major assault on "population centres" in Rafah. Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel could "stand alone" if necessary.

After seven months of war in Gaza, Israel has insisted victory is impossible without taking the city and eliminating the last remaining Hamas battalions. But with more than a million displaced Palestinians sheltering there, the UN and Western powers have warned that an all-out assault could lead to mass civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe.

Residents and aid workers in Rafah said the sound of artillery and air strikes was constant on last Thursday. Louise Wateridge, a spokeswoman for the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), told the BBC in the afternoon that she was at a health facility in the west and could "hear and feel the bombardment coming closer". "The building is shaking on a frequent basis. There is this constant buzzing of drones," she said. "The fear and nervousness that people

have had, has now become terror."

Palestinian media said two people were killed on Thursday afternoon in an Israeli air strike in the al-Jneineh neighbourhood - one of the eastern areas which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered residents to evacuate before beginning its ground operation began on Monday night. Another three people were reportedly killed in an air strike in the nearby Brazil neighbourhood, which is not in the evacuation zone but is next to the Egyptian border.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)  said that they were targeting Israeli forces on the eastern outskirts with mortars and anti-tank missiles. Hamas also said it had blown up a booby-trapped tunnel east of Rafah underneath three Israeli military vehicles. The IDF said three of its soldiers were moderately wounded as a result of the explosion.