WhatsApp Logo Subscribe
For News Alert

News

26 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza

By AFP

May 23, 2024 03:30 PM


Representational image

Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

Gaza's civil defence agency said two pre-dawn Israeli air strikes on Thursday killed 26 people in Gaza City, amid fierce battles between troops and militants across the Palestinian territory.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military, while AFP was unable to independently verify the details of the two reported strikes.

Civil Defence Agency spokesman Mahmud Bassal told AFP that one strike hit a family's house, killing 16 people, while 10 others died when a mosque was struck in the second strike.

Bassal said the dead included at least 15 children, including 10 who were killed when their family's house was hit in the Al-Daraj neighbourhood of Gaza City.

Five children died when their school inside a mosque complex was hit, he said, adding that rescue teams had pulled out several wounded from the strikes.

Earlier, a two-day Israeli raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin killed at least 12 Palestinians, health authorities and an AFP correspondent said Thursday.

Israeli troops withdrew from the city early Thursday, the correspondent said, after carrying out raids in the city's refugee camp and exchanging fire with masked gunmen in a nearby neighbourhood in the city centre.

The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said Israeli forces had killed 12 people including four children, and wounded 25 during the fighting which began on Tuesday morning.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa and medical charity Doctors Without Borders reported that surgeon Usaeed Jabareen, from Jenin's Khalil Suleiman government hospital, was among those killed on Tuesday.

An AFP correspondent on Thursday saw five bodies at the hospital morgue, including Jabareen's.

A schoolteacher and a student were also among the dead, Wafa reported, quoting hospital director Wissam Bakr.

Several of the bodies were draped in flags and carried among crowds of Palestinians, including armed militants, through the streets as gunfire rang out.

Israel ready to resume truce talks

Israel bombed Gaza on Thursday even as it said it was ready to resume stalled talks on a truce and hostage release deal with Hamas to pause the war raging since October 7.

Global pressure for a ceasefire has mounted on Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as three European countries said Wednesday they would recognise a Palestinian state.

The week started with the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court seeking arrest warrants over war crimes against Netanyahu and his defence minister as well as three Hamas leaders.

Israel has angrily rejected those moves, voicing "disgust" over the ICC move and labelling a recognition of the State of Palestine now a "reward for terrorism".

But domestic pressure has also risen as supporters of hostages trapped in war-torn Gaza again rallied outside Netanyahu's office, passionately demanding steps to free them.

A newly released video showed five female Israeli soldiers, tied up and some with bloodied faces, in the hands of Palestinian militants during the attack more than seven months ago.

The three-minute clip, taken from a militant's body camera footage, was released by the Hostage and Missing Families Forum on Wednesday after the Israeli army lifted censorship on it.

"The footage reveals the violent, humiliating and traumatising treatment the girls endured on the day of their abduction, their eyes filled with raw terror," the forum said.

Netanyahu vowed to continue fighting Hamas to "ensure what we have seen tonight never happens again", and more bombardment rained down overnight on targets in the devastated Gaza Strip.

But his office also said that the war cabinet had asked the Israeli negotiating team "to continue negotiations for the return of the hostages".

- Bleak assessment -

The previous round of truce talks, involving US, Egyptian and Qatari mediators, ended shortly after Israel launched its attack on Gaza's far-southern city of Rafah early this month.

Israel went ahead with the assault on the last Gaza city so far spared a major ground offensive in defiance of global opposition, including from top ally the United States.

Washington voiced concerns that 1.4 million Palestinians who had been trapped in crowded tent cities and shelters there would be caught in the line of fire.

Israel has since ordered mass evacuations from the city, and the UN says more than 800,000 people have fled.

US President Joe Biden's national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, said Wednesday the Rafah operation "has been more targeted and limited" than feared and "has not involved major military operations into the heart of dense urban areas".

But he stopped short of saying that Israel had addressed US concerns, adding that Washington was closely watching ongoing Israeli actions.

Israel's National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi has meanwhile given a bleak assessment of the war so far to a meeting of the parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee, according to a report by Israel's Channel 13.

He reportedly said that Israel has "not achieved any of the strategic aims of the war -– not conditions for a hostage deal, we haven't toppled Hamas, and we haven't allowed residents of the (Gaza) periphery to return safely home".

- 'Cycles of violence' -

The bloodiest ever Gaza war broke out after Hamas's unprecedented attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 124 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,709 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

Heavy fighting raged again in Gaza, where an AFP team reported fresh strikes early Thursday around Rafah.

Troops in the city had "dismantled a number of tunnel shafts and launchers in the area, and eliminated several terrorists during close-quarters encounters," said the military.

Urban combat has also flared again in northern areas, including Jabalia, which Israeli forces first entered several months ago.

Israeli forces there "targeted several Hamas terrorists during strikes on military compounds" and located AK-47 and sniper rifles, grenades and other weaponry, the military said.

Israel has also imposed a siege that has deprived Gaza's 2.4 million people of most drinking water, food, medical and fuel supplies.

The sporadic arrival of aid by truck slowed further after Israeli forces took control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Jordan and others have kept up aid airdrops, and relief goods have been shipped in via a US-built pier, but many trucks were quickly swarmed by desperate crowds.

Israel has faced ever greater opposition to the bloody war around the world, and pro-Palestinian protests have swept US and other university campuses.

Israel reacted with fury after Ireland, Norway and Spain said they would recognise a Palestinian state on May 28, a move praised by Palestinians and across the Arab world.

Israel recalled its envoys to Dublin, Oslo and Madrid and summoned their ambassadors for a rebuke.

Most Western governments say they are willing to recognise Palestinian statehood one day, but not before thorny issues such as final borders and the status of Jerusalem are settled.

The White House said Biden opposed unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, saying it should be realised "through direct negotiations".

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris called the October 7 attack "barbaric" but stressed that "a two-state solution is the only way out of the generational cycles of violence".

Vessel targeted by 'missile' attack off Yemen

A missile attack targeted a commercial vessel transiting southwest of Yemen's port city of Hodeidah without causing any damage or casualties, maritime security firms said on Thursday.

The vessel was "suspiciously approached" 68 nautical miles (125 kilometres) off Hodeidah, Ambrey said, without identifying the ship or the flag that it was flying.

"The vessel had undergone what she described as a 'missile attack' at the location," it added, noting that "no injuries or damages were reported".

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, run by the Royal Navy, also reported an incident at the same location, with "a missile impacting the water in close proximity" to the ship.

"Vessel and all crew are safe and proceeding to next port of call," it said in an advisory.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels have launched a flurry of attacks against ships since November

The group, which controls the Yemeni capital Sanaa and much of the country's Red Sea coast, say their campaign is in solidarity with Palestinians amid the Gaza war.

Their attacks have prompted US and British reprisal strikes and the formation of an international naval coalition to protect the vital trade route.

On Wednesday, US military forces shot down four drones in Huthi-controlled parts of Yemen, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

"It was determined these systems presented an imminent threat to US coalition forces, and merchant vessels in the region," CENTCOM posted on social media platform X.

Heads of Iran-allied fighters groups meet in Tehran

Leaders of the Iran-led, so-called "axis of resistance", including Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh, discussed the war in Gaza during a meeting in Tehran on the sidelines of president Ebrahim Raisi's funeral, state media reported Thursday.

The "axis of resistance" brings together Iran's regional allies in the fight against Israel, including the Palestinian movement Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah, Yemen's Huthis and Iraqi Shiite armed groups.

The leaders of these movements met Wednesday after attending ceremonies organised in Tehran to pay tribute to Raisi, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran.

The meeting was attended by Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's Qatar-based political bureau, as well as Hezbollah deputy Naim Qassem and Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam.

Haniyeh had also previously had an audience with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian officials meanwhile included General Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as General Esmail Qaani, commander of the Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the guards.

They discussed "the latest political, social and military situation in Gaza and the Al-Aqsa Flood operation and the role of the resistance front," state broadcaster IRIB reported.

The meeting reportedly stressed "the continuation of jihad and struggle until the complete victory of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza with the participation of all resistance groups and fronts in the region", IRIB said.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar channel also reported the meeting, broadcasting photos.

Iran's Fars news agency said representatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Iraqi groups were also present at the meeting.

Since the start of the war in Gaza in October, Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who also died in the helicopter accident, had increased his trips to the region, particularly to Lebanon and Syria.

Iran is a key backer of Hamas, but has repeatedly denied involvement in the Palestinian group's October 7 attack on Israel.

 

 


AFP


Most Read

  1. Software company CEO murdered for non-payment of salary in Karachi Software company CEO murdered for non-payment of salary in Karachi
  2. Mariyam Nafees defends girls involved in Lahore Tuck Shop Incident Mariyam Nafees defends girls involved in Lahore Tuck Shop Incident
  3. 500 shops gutted as fire sweeps through Sunday Bazaar in Islamabad 500 shops gutted as fire sweeps through Sunday Bazaar in Islamabad
  4. Saudi plane catches fire while landing at Peshawar Airport Saudi plane catches fire while landing at Peshawar Airport
  5. PTM leader, poet Gilaman Wazir succumbs to injuries in Islamabad PTM leader, poet Gilaman Wazir succumbs to injuries in Islamabad
  6. Maneka questions why Imran and Bushra arranged two nikkah ceremonies and flouted Iddat time Maneka questions why Imran and Bushra arranged two nikkah ceremonies and flouted Iddat time