Gaza: 17 killed as Rafah invasion deepens 

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas that rages through Gaza continues to claim innocent lives as at least 17 Palestinians residing in two of the Gaza Strip’s historic refugee camps were killed by Israeli airstrikes, reports Reuters

On the 18th of June, residents and medics reported heavy bombardments from tanks and planes in several areas of Rafah, where more than 1 million people have taken refuge against the backdrop of the war. 

In the central Gaza Strip, two separate airstrikes directed their fire in Al-Nuseirat and Al-Bureij which are two designated refugee camps filled with families and descendants of people who fled to Gaza in the 1948 war around the creation of Israel, the medics detailed. 

Though other countries have tried to help by supplying aid to Gaza, such as Libya, Algeria and Morocco, thousands are still being killed as the war intensifies. “Rafah is being bombed without any intervention from the world, the occupation (Israel) is acting freely here,” the father of six and Rafah resident told Reuters. 

READ: UN slams Israel for Gaza war crimes – report 

Palestinian health officials said one man was killed on the morning of the 18th by Israeli fire on the eastern side of Rafah. Medics said they believed many others had been killed in the past days and weeks however rescue teams could not reach them.

“There are Israeli forces in most areas, there is heavy resistance too and they are making them pay dearly but the occupation is not ethical, and they are destroying the city and the refugee camp,” the resident added.

Israeli tanks were operating inside Tel Al-Sultan, Al-Izba, and Zurub areas in Rafah’s west, as well as Shaboura at the heart of the city. They also continued to occupy the eastern neighbourhoods and outskirts as well as the border with Egypt and the vital Rafah border crossing.

Though the Israeli military has not commented directly on the 17 deaths, they have justified their attack as continuing “precise, intelligence-based activity” in Rafah. The Israeli airforce has struck dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip and killed many Palestinian gunmen in close-range combat over the last few days.

READ: Officers fired after Gaza aid workers killed in air strike 

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters confronted Israeli forces in combat zones with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and have in some areas detonated pre-planted explosive devices against army units.

“Every more hour of delay, Israel kills more people, we want a ceasefire now,” said Khalil, a teacher from Gaza, now displaced with his family in Deir Al-Balah city in the central Gaza Strip.

“Enough of our blood, I say it to Israel, America, and our leaders too. The war must stop,” he continued. 

Repeated attempts to arrange a ceasefire, most recently negotiated in Cairo, have failed. Hamas has insisted on a permanent end to the war with a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza however Israel has stated that it wants to dismantle Hamas for good. 



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