Saturday, July 13, 2024

Terrorist Israel strikes Gaza as Islamic Jihad claims rocket barrage, martyrs’ toll at 37,900

Terrorist Israel strikes Gaza as Islamic Jihad claims rocket barrage, martyrs’ toll at 37,900
July 1, 2024 Web Desk

GAZA, Palestine (AFP) - Terrorist Israeli forces struck southern Gaza's main city Monday after a rocket barrage claimed by militant group Islamic Jihad, and as shelling and fighting raged on across the besieged Palestinian territory.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said that at least 37,900 people have been martyred during nearly nine months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants. The toll includes at least 23 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 87,060 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.

A group of Palestinian detainees meanwhile returned to the Gaza Strip, including the director of its biggest hospital who recounted "severe torture" in Israeli custody. The Israeli military said that about "20 projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Khan Yunis" in a rare salvo after nearly nine months of devastating conflict.

The rockets were aimed at Israeli communities near the Gaza border and were fired in retaliation for Israeli "crimes... against our Palestinian people", said Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad which has fought alongside Hamas. Most launches were intercepted, the Israeli military said, reporting no casualties and saying artillery was "striking the sources of the fire".

Elsewhere in Gaza, witnesses and the civil defence agency reported Israeli air strikes including in the southern Rafah area and the central Nuseirat refugee camp. Witnesses reported constant Israeli tank fire in Gaza City's Shujaiya district where battles raged for a fifth day. Israeli forces were also operating in Rafah and in central Gaza, a statement added.

'Torture'

Netanyahu, who recently declared that the "intense phase" of the war was winding down, said on Sunday troops were "operating in Rafah, Shujaiya, everywhere in the Gaza Strip". "This is a difficult fight that is being waged above ground... and below ground" in tunnels.

Israel has released Mohammed Abu Salmiya, director of Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital, along with dozens of other detainees returned Monday to Gaza for treatment, according to a hospital source in central Gaza's Deir al-Balah. 

Successive Israeli raids have reduced parts of Al-Shifa, the territory's largest medical complex, to rubble. Israel has accused Hamas of using Al-Shifa and other hospitals in Gaza as a cover for military operations and infrastructure, claims the militants have rejected.

Speaking after his release, Abu Salmiya said he had suffered "severe torture" during his detention since November. "Prisoners are subjected to all kinds of torture," he told reporters in Khan Yunis. "Detainees were subjected to physical and psychological humiliation" and "several inmates died in interrogation centres and were deprived of food and medicine", he said.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli military did not confirm the detainees' release and would not comment on the torture allegations. According to Abu Salmiya, no charges were ever brought against him. The European hospital in Khan Yunis said the head of its orthopaedic unit, Bassam Miqdad, was also among those freed.