Rafah (Gaza Strip) – An Israeli air strike on a house killed 16 people, half of them children, in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said early Thursday. The army continued to strike targets in the besieged areas as civilians were asked to seek shelter.
Meanwhile, there was no news on whether the medicines that entered the territory on Wednesday as part of a deal brokered by France and Qatar were distributed to dozens of chronically ill hostages held by Hamas.
More than 100 days after Hamas provoked the war October 7 attackIsrael continues to wage war One of the bloodiest and most destructive military campaigns In modern history, with the aim of dismantling the armed group that has ruled Gaza since 2007 and returning dozens of prisoners. The war has raised tensions across the region, threatening to ignite other conflicts.
More than 24,000 Palestinians were killed, and about 85% of the narrow coastal enclave's 2.3 million people fled their homes, says the United Nations. A quarter of the population is starving.
Hundreds of thousands responded to Israeli evacuation orders and gathered in southern Gaza, where UN-run shelters were filled and huge camps were set up. But Israel has continued to strike what it says are militant targets throughout Gaza, often killing women and children.
Dr. Talaat Barhoum at Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah confirmed the number of deaths as a result of the raid on Rafah, and said that dozens of others were injured. Associated Press footage from the hospital showed relatives crying over the bodies of their loved ones.
Mahmoud Qasim, a relative of some of the dead, said: “They were suffering from hunger, they were dying of hunger, and now they have been bombed as well.”
Internet and mobile phone services in Gaza were disrupted for five days, the longest outage during the war, according to Internet access advocacy group NetBlocks. Power outages complicate rescue efforts and make it difficult to obtain information about recent strikes and casualties.
The echo of war reverberates throughout the region
The war spread throughout the Middle EastWith Iranian-backed groups attacking American and Israeli targets. Low-intensity fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon Threatened to enter into an all-out warThe Houthi rebels in Yemen continue to target international shipping Despite the US-led air strikes.
The Israeli military said it fired an interceptor missile at a “suspicious air target” — likely a drone or missile — approaching over the Red Sea on Thursday, setting off sirens in the southern Israeli coastal city of Eilat. The Houthis fired Drones and missiles towards Israel Which mostly failed or were intercepted and shot down.
At the same time, Iran launched a series of missile attacks targeting what it described as an Israeli spy base in Iraq and militant bases in Syria as well as in Pakistan. Which carried out retaliatory strikes Against what it described as militant hideouts in Iran early Thursday.
It was not clear whether the strikes in Syria and Pakistan were related to the war in Gaza. But it demonstrated Iran's ability to carry out long-range missile attacks at a time of rising tensions with Israel and the United States, which provided crucial support for the Gaza offensive and carried out its strikes against Iranian-allied groups in Syria and Iraq.
Israel has pledged to dismantle Hamas to ensure that an attack like the one that occurred on October 7 is not repeated. The militants stormed Israeli border defenses and stormed several communities that day, killing about 1,200 people, most of them civilians. About 250 hostages were taken.
Israel also pledged to return all remaining hostages in captivity after releasing more than 100 of them, most of them women and children. He was released during a ceasefire in November In exchange for the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Family members and supporters celebrated the first birthday of Kfir Bibas, Israel's youngest hostage, at a somber ceremony Thursday in Tel Aviv.
The red-haired toddler and his 4-year-old brother, Ariel, were arrested along with their mother, Sherri, and father, Yarden. The four are still in captivity.
Medicines intended for hostages enter Gaza
The drug shipment agreement was the first reached between the warring parties since November. Hamas said that for every box of medicine destined for hostages, 1,000 boxes would be sent to Palestinian civilians, in addition to food and humanitarian aid.
Qatar confirmed late Wednesday that the medicine had entered Gaza, but it was not yet clear whether it had been distributed to hostages held in secret locations, including underground bunkers.
Both France and Hamas said the International Committee of the Red Cross, which helped facilitate the hostage release, would have a role in distributing the medicines. But the Red Cross said on Thursday that “the mechanism that was agreed upon does not include the International Committee playing any role in its implementation, including the delivery of medicines.”
Hamas continued to fight across Gaza, Even in the most affected areasLaunching missiles at Israel. It says it will not release more hostages until a permanent ceasefire is reached, which Israel and the United States, its major ally, have ruled out.
Ministry of Health in Gaza It says at least 24,448 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the war, and more than 60,000 others have been injured. It says many other dead and wounded are trapped under rubble or inaccessible due to the fighting. The ministry does not differentiate between deaths between civilians and combatants, but says that about two-thirds of those killed were women and children.
Israel blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because it is fighting in dense residential areas. Israel says that its forces killed about nine thousand militants without providing evidence, and that 193 of its soldiers were killed since the start of the ground attack on Gaza.
Jeffrey reported from London and Liedman from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press writer Basem Marwa in Beirut contributed to this report.
Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war
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