Home News Palestinians report heavy bombing in Rafah area

Palestinians report heavy bombing in Rafah area


The southern Gaza region of Rafah came under heavy bombardment Thursday night, according to local residents and Palestinian media reports, as the Israeli military said its forces continued to engage in “face-to-face engagements” with Hamas militants there.

Saeed Lulu, 37, lives in the nearby Al-Mawasi area, parts of which Israel has designated as a “humanitarian zone” for people fleeing Rafah. He said he heard the attacks between midnight and 6 a.m., but said he was not aware of any casualties. He said the attacks appeared to target the southwestern edge of Al-Mawasi.

“We are very worried,” Mr. Lulu said. “This is supposed to be a safe zone and if they launch an attack here, we have nowhere else to go,” he added.

The location of the attack could not be independently verified.

The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa reported on Thursday that the Israeli military had stepped up missile and artillery bombardment of Al-Mawasi “from the air, land and sea.”

The Israeli military quickly denied Wafa’s report, saying in a statement released on the Telegram messaging app that the Israeli military strike “did not take place in the Al-Mawasi humanitarian area.”

The military said in a subsequent statement that its forces were continuing operations in Rafah and had engaged in “face-to-face clashes” with Hamas fighters.

Fighting in Rafah has been intermittent since early May when Israeli soldiers began advancing toward the center of Rafah, a move Israel says is a key step toward defeating remaining Hamas forces and destroying the group’s infrastructure.

Hundreds of thousands of people responded Israel’s warning Leaving Rafah. Israel insists it has not attacked areas designated as humanitarian zones, but many Gazans are unaware of where those areas are and remain suspicious.

Israel has posted messages on social media and dropped leaflets across the Gaza Strip to mark safe zones, but aid workers say it is difficult for Gazans to determine whether they are in designated safe zones because many do not have access to cell phones or the internet.

Some civilians said they had never seen any leaflets, while others said they were confused by the instructions, which included a numbering system used by the Israeli military to describe different areas.

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