Escalating Tensions: Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Claim 24 Lives

Israeli forces conducted airstrikes on Gaza City, resulting in the deaths of 24 Palestinians, including relatives of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The strikes targeted militants allegedly involved in planning attacks on Israel. The conflict has escalated, causing severe humanitarian issues in Gaza, including a shortage of medical supplies.

Reuters | Updated: 25-06-2024 18:28 IST | Created: 25-06-2024 18:28 IST
Escalating Tensions: Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Claim 24 Lives
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Israeli forces killed at least 24 Palestinians in three separate airstrikes early on Tuesday on Gaza City and the dead included a sister of Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of the militant Islamist group Hamas, Gaza health officials and medics said. Israeli tanks also pressed deeper into western areas of Rafah in the south of the enclave overnight, blowing up homes, residents said.

Two of the Israeli airstrikes hit two schools in Gaza City, killing at least 14 people, medics said. Another strike on a house in the Shati (Beach) camp, one of the Gaza Strip's eight historic refugee camps, killed 10 others. The house in Shati belonged to the extended family of Hamas political chief Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar. One of his sisters was killed along with other relatives, family members and medics said.

Haniyeh, who leads Hamas' diplomacy and is the public face of the group that has been running Gaza, has lost many relatives in Israeli air strikes since Oct. 7, including three sons. Israel's military said its forces had targeted militants overnight in Gaza City who had been involved in the planning of attacks on Israel. The militants included some involved in holding hostages captive and some who had taken part in Hamas' cross-border attack on Oct. 7.

The Israeli Air Force struck two structures "used by Hamas terrorists in Shati and Daraj Tuffah in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorists operated inside school compounds that were used by Hamas as a shield for its terrorist activities", the military statement said. Hamas denies using civilian facilities such as schools and hospitals for military purposes.

The group described the attacks on the two schools and the house in Shati camp as "massacres". Separately, the armed wings of Hamas and the allied Islamic Jihad groups said in a joint statement their fighters had fired mortar bombs overnight against Israeli forces in the Yibna neighbourhood of eastern Rafah.

In nearby Khan Younis, medics said Israeli tank shelling killed seven Palestinians and wounded several other people at a tent camp in the west of the city. The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said chaos was taking hold in Gaza as smuggling bands form and add to the difficulties of delivering sorely needed aid.

A high risk of famine also persists across the Gaza Strip as the conflict rages on unabated and humanitarian access remains restricted, a global hunger monitor said on Tuesday. HEZBOLLAH CONFLICT

More than eight months into the fighting, international mediation backed by the United States has so far failed to bring a ceasefire agreement. Hamas says any agreement must bring an end to the war, while Israel says it will agree only temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is eradicated. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday the phase of intense fighting against Hamas would end "very soon", freeing up more forces for deployment on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where fighting with Iran-backed Hezbollah has escalated.

Israel's national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said on Tuesday Israel would spend the coming weeks trying to resolve the conflict with Hezbollah and would prefer a diplomatic solution there. Shelling has led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border. Israel's ground and air campaign in Gaza was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli offensive in retaliation has so far killed 37,658 people, the Gaza health ministry said on Tuesday, and has left the tiny, densely populated Gaza Strip in ruins. Since early May, fighting has focused on Rafah, abutting Egypt on Gaza's southern edge, where around half of the enclave's 2.3 million people had been sheltering after fleeing other areas. Most have since had to flee again.

Gaza's health ministry said on Tuesday that hospitals and medical centres in the enclave were experiencing a severe shortage of medicines and medical supplies due to the continued Israeli offensive, Israel's control and closure of all crossings and its targeting of the health sector in Gaza. In particularly short supply are medications needed for emergency, anaesthesia, intensive care and operations, the ministry said in a statement. (Reporting and writing by Nidal al-Mughrabi. Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Gareth Jones, Peter Graff and Sharon Singleton)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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