Israeli Airstrike Kills 12 Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza

Israeli forces conducted an airstrike on Rafah in southern Gaza early Thursday, resulting in the death of at least 12 Palestinians, according to Gaza medics. The airstrike occurred amid ongoing fighting in various parts of the coastal enclave.

Israel continued its offensive in Rafah following its announcement that its forces had gained control of a buffer zone along the Gaza-Egypt border. This control effectively extends Israel’s authority over Gaza’s entire land frontier. The capture of the buffer zone was aimed at disrupting Hamas’ arm-smuggling routes into Gaza, a significant move in the context of the prolonged conflict, which has devastated much of the territory and raised concerns about famine.

According to Gaza medical sources, the casualties of the airstrike in Rafah included civilians who were attempting to retrieve the body of a civilian in the center of the city. Additionally, another Palestinian civilian was reported killed in an airstrike on Al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City.

While Israel reported clashes in various parts of Gaza, it did not immediately comment on the reported deaths in Rafah. The city has become a focal point for both military operations and humanitarian concerns, with hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians seeking refuge there during the conflict.

Despite an order from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to halt its attacks, Israel has continued its raids on Rafah. Israeli forces claim they are targeting Hamas fighters and attempting to rescue hostages held in the city.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in a significant loss of life, with over 36,000 Palestinians killed since the start of Israel’s offensive. In the past 24 hours alone, 53 Palestinians have been reported killed. Israel launched its offensive in response to Hamas incursions into southern Israel, which resulted in casualties and abductions.

In a call with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized the importance of operations in Rafah due to intelligence indicating the presence of hostages there. The Israeli military reported the discovery of terror tunnels, arms, and explosives during recent raids in the area.

Efforts to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have stalled, with both sides blaming each other for the lack of progress. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, with malnutrition becoming widespread and aid deliveries slowing down. Additionally, there have been allegations of Israeli attacks on UNRWA staff and buildings in Gaza, further exacerbating tensions in the region.

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