Dozens Killed and Wounded as Israeli Forces Thrust Deeper in Gaza’s Jabalia and Rafah

 Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)
Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)
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Dozens Killed and Wounded as Israeli Forces Thrust Deeper in Gaza’s Jabalia and Rafah

 Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)
Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)

Israeli troops and tanks pushed on Saturday into parts of a congested northern Gaza Strip district that they had previously skirted in the more than seven-month-old war, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, medics and residents said.

Israel's forces also took over some ground in Rafah, a southern city next to the Egyptian border that is packed with displaced people and where the launch this month of a long-threatened incursion to crush Hamas hold-outs has alarmed Cairo and Washington.

Israel has conducted renewed military sweeps this month of parts of northern Gaza where it had declared the end of major operations in January. At the time, it also predicted its forces would return to prevent a regrouping by the Palestinian group that rules Gaza.

One site has been Jabalia, the largest of Gaza Strip's eight historic refugee camps. On Saturday, troops and tanks edged into streets so far spared the ground offensive, residents said. In one strike, medics said 15 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded.

The Gaza health ministry and the Civil Emergency Service said teams received dozens of calls about possible casualties but were unable to carry out any searches because of the ongoing ground offensive and the aerial bombardment.

"Today is the most difficult in terms of the occupation bombardment, air strikes and tank shelling have going on almost non-stop," said one resident in Jabalia, Ibrahim Khaled, via a chat app.

"We know of dozens of people, martyrs (killed) and wounded, but no ambulance vehicle can get into the area," he told Reuters.

The Israeli military said forces have continued to operate in areas across the Gaza Strip including Jabalia and Rafah, carrying out what it called "precise operations against terrorists and infrastructure".

"The IAF (air force) continues to operate in the Gaza Strip, and struck over 70 terror targets during the past day, including weapons storage facilities, military infrastructure sites, terrorists who posed a threat to IDF troops, and military compounds," the military said in a statement.

Armed wings of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Fatah said fighters attacked Israeli forces in Jabalia and Rafah with anti-tank rockets, mortar bombs, and explosive devices already planted in some of the roads, killing and wounding many soldiers.

Israel's military said 281 soldiers have been killed in fighting since the first ground incursions in Gaza on Oct 20.

At least 35,386 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since Oct. 7, according to figures from the enclave's health ministry, while aid agencies have warned repeatedly of widespread hunger and dire shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

In the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, 1,200 people died in Israel and 253 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. About 125 people are still being held in Gaza.

In Rafah, where Israeli tanks thrust into some of the eastern suburbs and clashed with Palestinian fighters there, residents said Israeli bombing from the air and ground persisted all night.

Rafah had been sheltering more than one million displaced Gazans. UNRWA, the main UN aid agency for Palestinians, said more than 630,000 people had fled Rafah since the offensive there began on May 6. Israel says it must capture Rafah to destroy Hamas and ensure the country's security.



Hezbollah Fires New Barrage at Israel, Which Vows to Hit Back

Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
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Hezbollah Fires New Barrage at Israel, Which Vows to Hit Back

Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group said it fired a new wave of rockets and drones at the Israeli army on Thursday, after an Israeli strike killed one of its senior commanders, AFP reported.
It was Hezbollah’s largest simultaneous attack in near-daily cross-border fire between it and the Israeli army since its ally Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel triggered the Gaza war.
Hezbollah fighters launched “an attack with rockets and drones, targeting six barracks and military sites” while simultaneously flying “squadrons of explosive-laden drones” at three other Israeli bases, the group said in a statement.
One of the targets included an Israeli base that Hezbollah said housed an intelligence headquarters “responsible for the assassinations.”
Hezbollah said the attacks were “part of the response to the assassination” of Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah on Tuesday.
The Israeli army said about “40 projectiles were launched toward the Galilee and Golan Heights area,” adding most were intercepted while others ignited fires.
The Israeli government vowed to respond strongly to all Hezbollah attacks.
“Israel will respond with force to all aggressions by Hezbollah,” government spokesman David Mencer said during a press briefing.
“Whether through diplomatic efforts or otherwise, Israel will restore security on our northern border,” he added.
In recent weeks, cross-border exchanges have escalated, with Hezbollah stepping up its use of drones to attack Israeli military positions and Israel hitting back with targeted strikes against the militants.
On Wednesday, top Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine vowed the group would “increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks,” while speaking at Abdallah’s funeral.
The Israeli army confirmed it carried out the strike that “eliminated” Abdallah on Tuesday, describing him as “one of Hezbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon.”
A Lebanese military source said he was the “most important” Hezbollah commander to have been killed since the start of the war.
The cross-border violence has killed at least 468 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 89 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.