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Airstrikes, clashes rock Gaza as death toll mounts to 37,396

Published : Wednesday, 19 June, 2024 at 4:58 PM  Count : 281

Airstrikes, clashes rock Gaza as death toll mounts to 37,396

Airstrikes, clashes rock Gaza as death toll mounts to 37,396

Israeli airstrikes and clashes between troops and Palestinian militants rocked Gaza on Wednesday, as Israel's army warned it had readied an "offensive" against the Lebanese Hezbollah movement on the country's northern front, reports AFP.

Witnesses and the civil defense agency in the Gaza Strip reported Israeli bombardment in western Rafah, where medics said drone strikes and shelling killed at least seven people.
The Israeli military has announced a daily humanitarian "pause" in fighting on a key road in eastern Rafah, but a UN spokesman said days later that "this has yet to translate into more aid reaching people in need."

The Israeli military, which has traded near-daily cross-border fire with Lebanon's Hezbollah since October, said late Monday that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon were approved and validated.”

On Wednesday the military said its warplanes had struck Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon overnight, while reporting a drone had infiltrated near the border town of Metula.

Hezbollah claimed a drone attack on Israeli troops in Metula. The Iran-backed group also announced the death of two of its fighters.

'Total war'

Airstrikes, clashes rock Gaza as death toll mounts to 37,396

Airstrikes, clashes rock Gaza as death toll mounts to 37,396

The army's announcement that its plans for an offensive in Lebanon had been approved, along with a warning from Foreign Minister Israel Katz of Hezbollah's destruction in a "total war," came as US envoy Amos Hochstein visited the region to push for de-escalation.

Syrian state media said an Israeli strike on military sites in the country's south killed an army officer on Wednesday. Israel has not commented on the report.

In Gaza, Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group that has fought alongside Hamas, said its militants were battling troops amid Israeli shelling of western Rafah.

Witnesses reported seeing Israeli military vehicles enter the city's Saudi neighborhood, followed by nighttime gun battles.

Parts of central Gaza also saw fighting overnight, with witnesses reporting artillery shelling and heavy gunfire in Gaza City's Zeitun neighburhood.

More than eight months of war, sparked by Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, have led to dire humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territory and repeated UN warnings of famine.

The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been shut since Israeli troops seized its Palestinian side in early May, while nearby Kerem Shalom on the Israeli border "is operating with limited functionality, including because of fighting in the area," said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.

He told reporters that in recent weeks, there had been "an improvement" in aid reaching northern Gaza "but a drastic deterioration in the south."

"Basic commodities are available in markets in southern and central Gaza. But... it's unaffordable for many people."

The war has sent tensions soaring across the region, with violence involving Iran-backed Hamas allies.


Related Topics

Airstrikes   clashes rock Gaza   death toll mounts to 37   396  

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