Home News Israel advances into central Gaza, targeting Hamas militants

Israel advances into central Gaza, targeting Hamas militants

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Israeli forces continued their offensive in central Gaza on Friday and said they had killed dozens of militants, including some who had been holed up in a former United Nations school turned into a shelter in the area.

The military said the attack targeted a school in Shati, a coastal community northwest of central Gaza City, and targeted Hamas militants. The number of casualties was not immediately clear.

The Israeli military said in a statement after the attack: “Hamas has planned, intentionally and strategically placed infrastructure and carried out operations in civilian areas, which is a complete violation of international law and endangers the lives of civilians in Gaza.”

Friday’s attack took place Strikes on similar school complexes Gaza health authorities said women and children were among those killed in the attack, which has displaced civilians taking shelter in nearby Nusseirat.

Israel on Friday vigorously defended Thursday’s attack, saying its forces struck 20 to 30 militants who were using three classrooms at the former school as a base.

The attack on the United Nations building in central Gaza reflects Israel’s strenuous efforts to pacify those areas, where officials had previously believed Hamas had been largely suppressed.

Number and identities of the victims The truth about Thursday’s Nusserat incident remains disputed. Officials at the Gaza Health Ministry and the hospital where the injured were taken provided different figures. An Israeli military assessment offered a third version.

Palestinian officials put the death toll at between 41 and 46. Yasser Khattab, morgue administrator at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, said 18 of the victims were children and nine were women.

The Israeli military on Friday released a list of eight more Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters it said were killed in the attack, bringing the total number of suspected militants to 17 with the list released on Thursday.

Late Thursday, an Israeli airstrike hit Nusserat’s city hall, killing at least five people, including Mayor Ayad Magari. Video shared by Palestinian news media showed multiple bodies, some of which appeared to be children, lying on the floor of a morgue.

The death toll from all of these attacks could not be independently confirmed.

According to Gaza health officials, 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza during the war between Israel and Hamas, and the United Nations announced on Friday that Israel was included in the list of List of global criminals Committing violations against children. Hamas is also on the list.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the report and said in a statement that Israel’s military “is the most moral army in the world and no foolish decision by the United Nations will change that fact.”

Israeli forces also continued their offensive on Friday in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where they have captured much of the border with Egypt. The military said it was conducting “intelligently based targeted operations” but did not provide further details.

The fighting comes as American officials have been pressing for a ceasefire, and the State Department announced Friday that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Qatar next week to push for a deal.

Hamas and other Palestinian militants in Gaza have used numerous underground tunnels to conduct guerrilla warfare and use booby traps to ambush Israeli troops since the fighting was sparked by a Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7. Israeli troops have returned to previously-confronted areas such as Brej in central Gaza to combat what the military says is a resurgent Hamas insurgency there.

“We see that Hamas is still present and they still have the capability to attack above ground and underground,” Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner told reporters Thursday, describing continued attacks by “smaller” groups of militants using rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and booby traps.

The Israeli military said Hamas militants emerged from a tunnel just a few hundred feet from Israeli territory on Thursday and attempted to attack inside Israel. Israeli drone and tank fire targeted the militants and killed three of them, according to the military. An Israeli soldier was also killed in the exchange of fire.

While the number of commercial trucks has increased since Israel launched its military offensive on Rafah, the number of trucks carrying much-needed international aid has fallen, and aid workers say the humanitarian crisis remains dire.

The U.S. military said on Friday it had redeployed to the Gaza coast The terminal for the delivery of humanitarian supplies U.S. officials hailed the $230 million floating dock as part of a solution to get more aid to the famine-stricken territory. Broken in the rough sea More than a week ago.

Farnaz Fassihi and Michael Crowley Contributed reporting.

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