Israel hammers Gaza with fresh round of airstrikes as three killed in Rafah

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun18,2024

has intensified air strikes across once again, with three members of a family in Rafah killed amid what those on the ground described as the heaviest shelling in weeks.

Civilian residents desperately sought cover, as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) once again went on the offensive.

As it renewed its onslaught, the IDF ordered fresh evacuations in the north of the enclave, warning civilians they were again now in a “dangerous combat zone”.

“Continuous” artillery shelling of Gaza’s northern Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoon and Jabalia neighbourhoods was reported, while Rafah was also again pounded in the south.

Strikes by air and shelling from tanks on the ground were also reported in central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip in what residents said were almost non-stop bombardments.

In a post on social media platform X, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee warned residents of four zones in Beit Lahiya on Gaza’s northern edge to move to shelter in two designated areas.

He said the military “will work with extreme force against terrorist infrastructure and subversive elements” in the region.

In a statement issued later, the military added: “In stark contrast to Hamas’ intentional attacks on Israeli men, women and children, the IDF follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm.”

But on the ground the horror was plain for all to see. Thick black smoke could be seen rising in northern Gaza from across the southern Israeli border. Shelling was intense east of Beit Hanoun and Jabalia and continued in areas such as Zeitoun, one of Gaza City’s oldest suburbs, with residents reporting at least 10 strikes in a matter of seconds along the main road.

“It was one of those nights of horror that we have lived in at the start of the war. The bombing from tanks and planes didn’t stop,” said Um Mohammad, 53, a mother-of-six living 700 metres from Zeitoun.

“I had to gather with my children and my sisters who came to shelter with me in one place and pray for our lives as the house kept shaking.”

Just west of Beit Hanoun in Beit Lahiya, an air strike hit a mosque, killing a boy and injuring several others, while a medic was killed in shelling near the town stadium, medics said.

Elsewhere in the enclave, shelling hit the east of the main southern city Khan Younis a day after Israeli tanks raided the area, and in the central district four bodies were recovered from a house hit overnight in the Al-Nusseirat refugee camp.

The Israeli army said rockets launched overnight into Israel had come from northern Gaza. It had struck rocket launchers and killed several militants, in what it called “targeted and precise” strikes.

But the renewed heavy shelling and bombing of northern Gaza comes almost four months after the Israeli army announced it was drawing down its troops there, saying Hamas no longer controlled those areas.

This month, Israel pulled back most of its forces in southern Gaza. But efforts to reach a ceasefire have failed, and Israeli bombardment and raids on territory where its troops have withdrawn are making it difficult for displaced Gazans to return to abandoned homes.

Hamas said Israel had achieved only “humiliation and defeat” some 200 days into its offensive. And Abu Ubaida, spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, called for an escalation in conflict across all fronts and praised Iran for its first direct attack against Israel earlier this month.

He also said Hamas was sticking to its demands in ceasefire talks for Israel to permanently end its war, pull all its troops from Gaza and allow the displaced to return to the north.

Israel has baulked at a permanent ceasefire, saying that would only allow Hamas to regroup. The U.S. special regional envoy for humanitarian issues, David Satterfield, told reporters in Washington that the risk of famine throughout Gaza, especially in the north, is “very high”. He urged Israel to do everything possible to facilitate efforts to avert famine and get aid to those in need.

Israel says it is seeking to eradicate Hamas, which controls the enclave, following an attack by the militant group on October 7 killing 1,200 and taking 253 hostages by Israeli tallies.

Palestinian health authorities say more than 34,000 people have been confirmed killed in the seven-month war, with thousands more bodies as yet unrecovered.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Israel hammers Gaza with fresh round of airstrikes as three killed in Rafah”
  1. Are there any reports on the humanitarian impact of the airstrikes on Gaza’s civilian population?

  2. It’s heartbreaking to see the continuous airstrikes on Gaza causing such devastating loss of life. The heavy shelling is creating immense fear and suffering for innocent civilians caught in the middle. It’s crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the protection of civilian lives and work towards a peaceful resolution.

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