Hamas fires rockets at Tel Aviv as Israel attacks Rafah

Published May 27, 2024
A member of the Israeli police bomb squad collects debris after a rocket struck Herzliya, on Sunday.—AFP
A member of the Israeli police bomb squad collects debris after a rocket struck Herzliya, on Sunday.—AFP

CAIRO: Hamas said it launched a “large rocket barrage” at Tel Aviv on Sunday, prompting sirens to sound in the Israeli city for the first time in four months as the Palestinian group sought to show military strength despite Israel’s Gaza offensive.

On the other hand, Israeli strikes killed at least five Palestinians in Rafah, as tanks probed around the edges of the city, close to the main southern crossing point into Egypt.

The Israeli military claimed eight projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Rafah, about 100km south of Tel Aviv, where Israel kept up operations des­pite a ruling by the top UN court ordering it to immediately stop the offensive.

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in Israel’s offensive, Gaza’s health ministry says.

Palestinian death toll nears 36,000; Tel Aviv signals renewed efforts for truce

In the latest fighting, Gaza’s civil defe­nce agency said it had retrieved six bodies after a house was targeted in a strike on Rafah’s eastern Khirbet al-Adas neighbourhood. Witnesses said Israeli artillery had also targeted central Rafah’s Yibna camp, and that heavy artillery shelling hit the city’s Sooq al-Halal and Qishta areas.

Elsewhere in Gaza, Israeli air strikes targeted the Nuseirat refugee camp, and witnesses said heavy artillery shelling hit northern Gaza. Israeli tanks in Gaza City rained heavy gunfire on targets in the Zeitun and Netzarim area, an AFP reporter said. Fighting also continued in the northern Gaza area of Jabaliya.

Israel claims it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue Israeli prisoners it says are being held in the area, but its assault has worsened the plight of civilians and caused an international outcry.

Truce efforts

Efforts to agree a halt to the fighting and return more than 100 Israeli prisoners held by Hamas in Gaza have been blocked for weeks, but there were some signs of movement following meetings between Israeli and US intelligence officials and the prime minister of Qatar.

An official with knowledge of the matter said a decision had been taken to resume the talks this week based on new proposals from Egyptian and Qatari mediators, and with “active US involvement”. However, a Hamas official said, “It is not true.” Izzat El-Reshiq, a senior Hamas official in exile, said the group had not received anything from the mediators on new dates for the resumption of talks as had been reported by Israeli media. He reiterated the demands which include: “Ending the aggression completely and permanently, in all of Gaza Strip, not only Rafah”.

While Israel is seeking the return of Israeli prisoners, Prime Minister Benja­min Netanyahu has insisted that the war will not end until Hamas is eliminated.

Aid trucks enter Gaza

Israel has faced calls to get more aid into Gaza after more than seven months of a war that has caused destruction on an unprecedented scale and hunger in the enclave.

Israel prepared on Sunday to allow around 200 aid trucks into Gaza through Kerem Shalom at the southeastern edge of the Palestinian enclave, bypassing the main Rafah crossing that has been blocked for weeks.

It follows an agreement between US President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday to temporarily send aid via the crossing.

Khaled Zayed, an official from the Egyptian Red Crescent, said that 200 trucks of aid, including four fuel trucks, were expected to enter on Sunday through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Egypt’s state-affiliated Al Qahera News TV shared a video on social media platform X, showing aid trucks entering Kerem Shalom, which before the conflict was the main commercial crossing station between Israel, Egypt and Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been shut for almost three weeks, since Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the crossing as it stepped up its offensive in the area on May 6.

Egypt has been increasingly alarmed at the prospect of large numbers of Palestinians entering its territory from Gaza and has refused to open its side of the Rafah crossing.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...