30 more Gazans killed as Israeli strikes continue

Published May 26, 2024
Mourners react next to the bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City on May 25, 2024. — Reuters
Mourners react next to the bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City on May 25, 2024. — Reuters

RAFAH: Israeli forces bombed the Gaza Strip, including Rafah, on Saturday, killing at least 30 more Palestinians a day after judges at the top United Nation’s court ordered Israel to “immediately halt” its offensive.

Although Israel pressed on with its offensive against Hamas, mediated negotiations between the two sides are due to restart next week, an official with knowledge of the matter said.

The decision on talks was taken after the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency met the head of the CIA and the prime minister of Qatar, said the source.

“At the end of the meeting, it was decided that in the coming week negotiations will open based on new proposals led by the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, and with active US involvement,” the source said.

Hamas did not immediately comment on the status of talks.

Since the crisis in Gaza unfolded more than seven months ago, mediators have struggled to secure a breakthrough, with Israel seeking the release of prisoners held by Hamas and the latter seeking the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and an end to the bombardment.

Bombings have continued in Gaza despite the mediation and despite judges at the top United Nations court ordering Israel on Friday to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, where it says it is trying to root out Hamas fighters.

The International Court of Justice, or World Court, has no means to enforce its emergency ruling in a case brought by South Africa, which accused Israel of genocide.

But the case was a stark sign of Israel’s global isolation, particularly since it began its offensive against Rafah this month against the pleas of its closest ally, the United States.

Israeli bombings have left a total of 35,903 Palestinians dead in Gaza and 80,420 injured.

‘Operation’ in Rafah

The Israeli military said it had carried out “operational activity in specific areas of Rafah” on Friday, including killing Hamas fighters’, dismantling part of Hamas’s tunnel system’, and locating `stashes of weapons’.

Further north in the coastal territory, where the Israeli military says it is trying to prevent Hamas from re-establishing its hold, Palestinian medical workers reported Israeli airstrikes that killed 17 people.

A total of 31 Palestinians were killed in the past day in the Gaza Strip, according to local medical officials.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, and the smaller armed group Islamic Jihad said their fighters had fired anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs at Israeli troops in the north.

Residents and civil emergency services said Israeli tanks entered deep into the area of Jabalia, destroying dozens of houses, shops, and roads.

Palestinian medical teams were unable to reach the area, where they believed more people were killed.

Israel has said it is carrying out operations in Rafah, despite growing international opposition, to remove “Hamas battalions holed up there”. Some of the Israeli prisoners are also being held there, it says.

The city had become a refuge for Gazans fleeing Israeli bombings elsewhere in the enclave. After Rafah became a target as well, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left the city.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2024

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