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Israeli forces pound north and south Gaza

Medics said two Palestinians were killed in one Israeli missile strike in Rafah…reports Asian Lite News

Israeli forces pounded several areas across Gaza on Wednesday, and residents reported fierce fighting overnight in Rafah in the south of the Palestinian enclave.

Residents said fighting intensified in the Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood in western Rafah, where tanks were also trying to force their way north amid heavy clashes. The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said fighters attacked Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs.

Since early May, ground fighting has focused on Rafah, abutting Egypt on Gaza’s southern edge, where around half of the enclave’s 2.3 million people had been sheltering after fleeing other areas. Most have since had to flee again.

Israel says that it is close to destroying the last remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah, after which it will move to smaller scale operations in the enclave.

Medics said two Palestinians were killed in one Israeli missile strike in Rafah.

The Israeli military said in a statement its forces killed a Hamas militant who had been involved in the smuggling of weapons through the border between Rafah and Egypt. It said jets struck dozens of militant targets in Rafah overnight, including fighters, military structures and tunnel shafts.

Later on Wednesday, an Israeli strike killed three Palestinians and wounded others near the northern Jabalia camp, one of the Gaza Strip’s eight historic refugee camps, medics said.

Residents and Hamas media said the casualties were among a group of people who gathered outside a store to get an Internet signal to communicate with relatives elsewhere in the enclave.

In Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip, tank shells struck an apartment, killing at least five people and wounding others, medics said.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Israel’s ground and air campaign in Gaza was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli offensive in retaliation has so far killed 37,658 people, of them 60 in the past 24 hours, the Gaza health ministry said on Tuesday, and has left the tiny, heavily built-up Gaza Strip in ruins.

The Gaza health ministry does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, but officials say most those killed have been civilians. Israel has lost 314 soldiers in Gaza and says at least a third of the Palestinian dead are fighters.

More than eight months into the war, international mediation backed by the US has failed to yield a ceasefire agreement. Hamas says any deal must bring an end to the war and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, while Israel says it will accept only temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is eradicated.

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