Home World Israeli forces launch deadly raids in West Bank, pound Gaza ahead of UN vote

Israeli forces launch deadly raids in West Bank, pound Gaza ahead of UN vote

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Israeli forces launch deadly raids in West Bank, pound Gaza ahead of UN vote

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RAFAH — Israeli forces have carried out deadly raids in the occupied West Bank while shelling and bombing many areas in the Gaza Strip ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting to discuss an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

At least four Palestinians were killed on Tuesday in the most intense raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, where the Israeli army fired a missile at youths, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Israel’s military was blocking ambulances from the Jenin refugee camp, which was targeted in the raid, to treat the wounded.

Israeli forces also launched raids in other West Bank towns, arresting some 50 people in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, and Tubas, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes and tanks pounded southern Gaza on Tuesday, and the United Nations said aid distribution had largely stopped because of the intensity of fighting.

Hamas reported heavy fighting in central Gaza overnight, while health officials said 22 people including children 22 were killed and “dozens” injured in an Israeli air raid on Rafah. Civil emergency workers were searching for more victims under the rubble.

In central Gaza, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah received the bodies of 33 people killed in strikes overnight, including 16 women and four children, according to hospital records. Many were killed in strikes that hit residential buildings in the built-up Maghazi refugee camp nearby.

In northern Gaza, the aid group Doctors Without Borders said a surgeon in the Al-Awda hospital was wounded Monday by a shot fired from outside the facility, which it says has been under “total siege” by Israeli forces for a week. There was no immediate comment from the military.

Israel’s army claimed on Tuesday Hamas is at “its breaking point” as violent clashes push civilians into increasingly dire humanitarian conditions.

“Hamas is at its breaking point, the Israeli army is retaking its last bastions,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday evening.

“The fact that people are surrendering… accelerates our success. That is what we want: to move forward quickly,” army chief of staff Herzi Halevi said.

He added that Israeli forces were “intensifying” their operations in the south while consolidating positions in the north.

But many experts consider Israel’s aims to be unrealistic, pointing to Hamas’ deep base of support in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank, where it is seen by many Palestinians as resisting Israel’s decades-old military rule.

“Destroying Hamas, even its military capability — Israeli leaders’ chief war aim — will be a tall order without decimating what remains of Gaza,” said the Crisis Group, an international think tank, in a report over the weekend that also called for an immediate cease-fire.

The situation facing civilians in Gaza is “apocalyptic”, warned the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell on Monday.

He likened the scale of destruction in the Palestinian enclave as “more or less, even greater” than that suffered by Germany during the Second World War.

More than half of Gaza’s homes have been destroyed or damaged by the war, according to the UN. Some 1.9 million people have also been displaced, equivalent to 85% of the population.

“More and more people have not eaten for a day, two days, three days… People lack everything,” said UNRWA director Philippe Lazzarini.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the displaced in Rafah “are facing dire conditions, in overcrowded places, both inside and outside the shelters.”

“We went from Gaza to Khan Yunis and then we were moved to Rafah. That night they bombed the house and destroyed it. They said Rafah would be a safe place. There is no safe place,” Oum Mohammed al-Jabri, 56, told AFP.

The UN and humanitarian organizations have urged Israel to let more aid into the Gaza Strip, amid the desperate situation facing civilians.

Israeli authorities have said they want to control humanitarian trucks entering and leaving the territory.

The war between Israel and Hamas, which entered its 67th day on Tuesday, was triggered by Hamas’ bloody 7 October attack on southern Israel.

Some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the shock assault, during which around 240 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.

A now-expired truce allowed the release of 100 hostages, with 137 remaining in captivity.

More than 18,200 people have been killed in Israeli bombings in Gaza, the vast majority of them women and children, according to Palestinian authorities. The Israeli army reported around a hundred deaths in its ranks. — Agencies

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