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Israel pounds Gaza, killing dozens, as fighting rages

Jun 22, 2024

Jerusalem [Israel], June 22: Israeli forces pounded Rafah in southern Gaza on Friday, as well as other areas across the enclave, killing at least 45 Palestinians as troops engaged in close-quarter combat with Hamas militants, residents and Israel's military said.
Residents said the Israelis appeared to be trying to complete their capture of Rafah, which borders Egypt and has been the focus of an Israeli assault since early May.
Tanks were forcing their way into the western and northern parts of the city, having already captured the east, south and centre.
Firing from planes, tanks and ships off the coast drove a new wave of displacement from the city, which had been sheltering more than a million displaced people, most of whom have now had to flee again.
The Gaza health ministry said at least 25 Palestinians had been killed in Mawasi in western Rafah and 50 wounded. Palestinians said a tank shell had hit a tent housing displaced families.
The Israeli military said that the incident was under review. "An initial inquiry conducted suggests that there is no indication that a strike was carried out by the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) in the Humanitarian Area in Al-Mawasi," it said.
Earlier, the military said its forces were conducting "precise, intelligence-based" actions in the Rafah area, where troops were involved in close-quarter combat and had located tunnels used by militants.
Over the past week, the military said, troops had targeted a university that served as a Hamas headquarters from which militants had fired on soldiers, and had found weapons and barrel bombs. It did not name the university.
In the central area of Nusseirat, the military said soldiers had killed dozens of militants over the past week and found a weapons depot containing mortar bombs and military equipment belonging to Hamas.
Some residents said the Israeli onslaught on Rafah had intensified in the previous two days and that the sounds of explosions and gunfire had hardly stopped.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Corporation