Israel hits Gaza as truce efforts fail

Tensions surge on Lebanon border

AFP June 15, 2024
Palestinian children near the crater left by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on June 3, 2024. PHOTO: AFP


Israeli forces struck Gaza and battled Hamas militants on Friday as truce efforts failed to make progress and tensions surged on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

Witnesses reported strikes on the southern city of Rafah and central areas of the Gaza Strip.

At Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central city of Deir al-Balah, men gathered over the body of an 11-year-old boy who died during a bombardment of nearby Bureij refugee camp.

In a black singlet, the child lay on a floor smeared with fresh blood, a white bandage covering the top half of his face, AFP images showed.

The Israeli military said troops continued operations in central Gaza, where warplanes struck a militant cell in the Zeitun area.

After projectiles were fired from northern Gaza into southern Israel on Thursday night, artillery and aircraft hit the launch sites, the army said.

Witnesses in Rafah, on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, reported helicopter fire on the city’s west and centre, while Hamas’s armed wing said its militants fired mortar rounds at Israeli troops near the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood.

The war began after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,266 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.

The toll includes at least 34 deaths over the past 24 hours, the ministry said on Friday.

Fears of a broader Middle East conflict have surged again, with Lebanon-based Hezbollah fighters, who are backed by Iran and allied with Hamas, launching waves of rockets, missiles and drones against Israeli military targets.

Hezbollah said intense strikes since Wednesday were retaliation for Israel’s killing of one of its commanders.

Sirens sounded in northern Israel, where police said munitions had hit in the Kiryat Shmona area, with no reports of casualties.

The military said “approximately 35 projectiles were identified crossing from Lebanon”. “A number” of them were intercepted while some caused fires.

Israeli forces responded with shelling, the military said, also announcing air strikes on “Hezbollah terror infrastructure” across the border.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that Israeli “warplanes launched a raid targeting a house” in the southern town of Jannata. 



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