Friday, July 19, 2024

Gaza health official martyred as Israeli tanks push deeper into Rafah

Gaza health official martyred as Israeli tanks push deeper into Rafah
June 24, 2024 Web Desk

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike at a medical clinic in Gaza City martyred the director of Gaza's Ambulance and Emergency Department, the enclave's health ministry said.

The health ministry said that at least 37,626 people have been martyred during more than eight months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants. The toll includes at least 28 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 86,098 had been wounded in the Gaza Strip

The health ministry said the killing of Hani al-Jaafarawi brought the number of medical staff martyred by Israeli fire since Oct 7 to 500. At least 300 others have so far been detained. In a statement, the Israeli military said the strike targeted Mohammad Salah, who it said was responsible for developing Hamas weaponry.

"Salah was part of a project to develop strategic weaponry for the Hamas terrorist organisation, and he commanded a number of Hamas terrorist squads that worked on developing weapons," it said.

More than eight months into the fighting, international mediation backed by the United States has so far failed to bring a ceasefire agreement. Hamas says any agreement must bring an end the war, while Israel says it will agree only temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is eradicated.

In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, Israeli forces which took control of the eastern, southern, and central parts of the city pursued their raid into the western and northern areas, said residents, describing heavy fighting.

On Sunday, residents had said Israeli tanks had advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of Rafah, forcing many families to leave northward to Khan Younis and to Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, the only city in the enclave where tanks have not yet invaded.

"The situation in Tel Al-Sultan, in western Rafah, remains very dangerous. Drones and Israeli snipers are hunting people who try to check on their houses, and tanks continue to take over areas overseeing Al-Mawasi further west," said Bassam, a resident of Rafah. "We know about people killed in the streets and we know and we see that dozens of houses had been destroyed by the occupation," he told Reuters via a chat app.

Israel denies targeting civilians and blames Hamas for provoking civilian casualties by fighting among them, which Hamas denies. In the north of the enclave, where Israel had said its forces completed operations months ago, residents said tanks had pushed back into Gaza City's Zeitoun suburb and were pounding several areas there. 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.