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Israeli troops push forward in Rafah, denying that more shelling killed 21 people

Israeli tanks advanced to the centre of Rafah for the first time on Tuesday, witnesses said, three weeks into a ground offensive in the southern Gaza city that has stirred global condemnation for the rising civilian death toll.

Ground offensive in southern Gaza city stirs global condemnation as civilian death toll rises

Palestinians seek safety as Rafah sees more shelling

19 hours ago

Duration 0:32

Palestinians who sought safety in the southern Gaza city of Rafah were on the move again on Tuesday, as they faced more Israeli strikes and dire humanitarian conditions.

Israel's military denied striking a tent camp west of the city of Rafah on Tuesday after Gaza health authorities said Israeli tank shelling had killed at least 21 people there, in what Israel has designated a civilian evacuation zone.

Two days after an Israeli airstrike on another camp stirred global condemnation, Gaza emergency services said four tank shells hit a cluster of tents in Al-Mawasi, a coastal strip that Israel had advised civilians in Rafah to move to for safety.

At least 12 of the dead were women, according to Gaza medical officials.

But Israel's military later said in a statement: "Contrary to the reports from the last few hours, the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] did not strike in the Humanitarian Area in Al-Mawasi."

Tuesday's incident in Al-Mawasi occurred in an area designated by Israel as an expanded humanitarian zone. Israel had urged Palestinian civilians in Rafah, including around one million displaced by the almost eight-month-old war, to go there when it launched its incursion in early May.

WATCH | Man says he can't find his siblings:

Man searches for family in Al-Mawasi as fighting intensifies in Rafah

10 hours ago

Duration 1:28

'I don’t know where my brother is or where my sister is, I don’t know anything,' a man said Tuesday in Al-Mawasi, a coastal area west of the city of Rafah that Israel had advised civilians to move to for safety. Officials in Gaza said as many as 21 people were killed in Al-Mawasi after Israeli tank shells hit a cluster of tents; the IDF said it 'did not strike in the humanitarian area.'

In central Rafah, tanks and armoured vehicles mounted with machine guns were spotted near Al-Awda mosque, a city landmark, witnesses told Reuters. The Israeli military said its forces continued to operate in the Rafah area, without commenting on reported advances into the city centre.

International community on edge

International unease over Israel's three-week-old Rafah offensive has turned to outrage after an attack on Sunday set off a blaze in a tent camp in a western district of the city, killing at least 45 people.

Israel said it had targeted two senior Hamas operatives and had not intended to cause civilian casualties.

Global leaders voiced horror at the fire in a designated "humanitarian zone" of Rafah where families uprooted by fighting elsewhere had sought shelter, and urged the implementation of a World Court order last week for a halt to Israel's assault.

The Israeli military said it was investigating the possibility that munitions stored near a compound targeted by Sunday's airstrike may have ignited and touched off the blaze.

WATCH | Survivors describe horrific fire after Israeli airstrike:

Families fled to Rafah for safety — now they fear for their lives

2 days ago

Duration 1:03

Families from across Gaza fled to Rafah after being told by Israeli forces to move south. After a deadly strike over the weekend, some are asking if they’ll ever find safety again.

Residents said Rafah's Tel Al-Sultan neighbourhood, the scene of Sunday's night-time strike in which tents and shelters were set ablaze as families settled down to sleep, was still being bombarded.

"Tank shells are falling everywhere in Tel Al-Sultan. Many families have fled their houses in western Rafah under fire throughout the night," one resident told Reuters via a chat app.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday added his voice to the chorus of condemnation of Sunday's strike and again urged Israel to allow "the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need."

In a further blow to aid efforts, a part of the U.S. military's pier off Gaza's coast has broken off, probably due to bad weather, rendering it temporarily inoperable, two U.S. officials said. The United Nations has transported 137 trucks of aid from the pier since it began operations two weeks ago.

Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said a portion of the pier had separated and that the pier would be towed over the next 48 hours to Ashdod port in Israel for repairs.

Singh added the pier would take over a week to repair and then returned to its place off the coast of Gaza.

Allies push for ceasefire

Spain, Norway and Ireland said they hoped their decision to recognize a Palestinian state would speed up efforts toward securing a ceasefire in Israel's war against Hamas militants, which has reduced much of the densely populated territory to rubble.

Egypt is again trying in tandem with Qatar and the U.S. to revive talks on a ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas, but efforts have been hampered by Israel's assault on Rafah, Cairo's state-affiliated Al-Qahera News TV channel said on Tuesday, citing a senior official.

Around one million people — many repeatedly uprooted by shifting waves of the war — have fled the Israeli offensive in Rafah since early May, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) reported Tuesday.

WATCH | Palestinians in Gaza are once more on the move:

Israeli operation continues in Rafah as international backlash grows

5 hours ago

Duration 2:34

The Israeli military is continuing its operations in Rafah despite international calls for it to stop. It's facing harsh criticism after dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Sunday. Today, the Israel Defense Forces responded to that backlash, calling what happened a 'tragic mishap.'

Israeli tanks, gun battles in Rafah

Israel seized control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt three weeks ago. Its tanks then entered some eastern districts of the city but had previously not rumbled into the centre in full force.

On Tuesday, witnesses also reported gun battles between Israeli troops and Hamas-led fighters in the area of the Zurub hilltop in western Rafah.

Witnesses in central Rafah said the Israeli military appeared to have brought in remote-operated armoured vehicles and there was no immediate sign of personnel in or around them. An Israeli military spokesperson had no immediate comment.

A large cloud of dark smoke is shown in the distance about a city skyline that consists of low-rise buildings.

The Israeli military also said it operated overnight along the Philadelphi Corridor that separates Gaza from Egypt and troops were engaged in close-quarter combat, locating tunnel shafts, weapons and militant infrastructure.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, Gaza's health ministry says. Israel launched its air and ground war after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel says it wants to root out the last major intact formations of Hamas fighters hunkered down in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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