World News

Israeli forces launch air raids and artillery attacks on Gaza

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a new level of violence, with the Israeli military launching air raids and artillery attacks on Rafah in southern Gaza, resulting in the deaths of five Palestinians. The attacks follow a day of relentless bombings that killed at least 101 Palestinians across the Gaza Strip, marking the most violent day in the enclave since Israeli troops killed 274 people while freeing four captives in Nuseirat earlier this month.

The Israeli military has also been accused of using a wounded Palestinian man as a human shield during a raid in the city of Jenin. According to a video posted online, Mujahed Azmi, a Palestinian resident of Jenin, was strapped to the hood of a military vehicle and driven through the streets, appearing to be used as a human shield. Azmi’s family said he was wounded during an Israeli raid and that when they asked for an ambulance, the military took him instead and strapped him to the hood of their vehicle.

The violence has left at least 37,551 people dead and 85,911 wounded in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from the Hamas-led attacks stands at 1,139, with dozens of people still held captive in Gaza. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, with many civilians trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings and struggling to access basic necessities such as food and water.

In addition to the human cost, the conflict has also had a devastating impact on Gaza’s infrastructure. The Shati refugee camp has been widely targeted by Israeli airstrikes, with most of its civil infrastructure destroyed. Many residents are still unable to return to their homes due to the danger posed by unexploded ordnance and the destruction of buildings.

The Israeli military has also been conducting raids in the occupied West Bank, storming into homes and making arrests. According to the Wafa news agency, eight people, including three children, were arrested from Hebron governorate, while one man was arrested from Qalqilya city and another from Nablus city. A 14-year-old boy was subjected to “abuse and severe beating by soldiers” during one of the raids.

The international community has expressed concern over the escalating violence and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The World Food Programme’s Palestine Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth, said that while more aid trucks are reaching northern Gaza, Palestinians in the south are unable to return due to the destruction of infrastructure. The head of Gaza’s Civil Defence crew said that they are facing “insurmountable challenges” in recovering those trapped under debris.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has departed for Washington to meet with top US officials to discuss the war in Gaza and escalating tensions with Hezbollah. Gallant said that a key point of discussion will be Israel’s transition to “phase three” of the Gaza war, which he stressed is of “great importance”. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, CIA Director William Burns, and Special Envoy Amos Hochstein are expected to meet with Gallant during his visit.

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