Israeli forces intensify Rafah bombing amid tank push west

Israeli forces intensified their bombing of Rafah, targeting the area from both air and ground, as tanks attempted to push west, according to local residents. Overnight, fierce clashes occurred between Israeli troops and Hamas-led fighters.

Residents reported that tanks, which had secured positions along the Egypt border, conducted multiple incursions westward and towards central Rafah, injuring several people trapped in their homes.

One resident described the night as one of the worst, with tactical raids and heavy fire preceding the tanks’ retreat.

Israeli forces also conducted operations inside the Al-Bureij camp in central Gaza, maintaining heavy bombardment on two other camps and a nearby city, resulting in numerous casualties.

Fighters from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and smaller groups claimed to have launched attacks against Israeli forces in several areas of central and southern Gaza.

Efforts by Qatari and Egyptian mediators, supported by the United States, to broker a ceasefire have shown no progress. Hamas demands a permanent end to the conflict, while Israel is only willing to discuss temporary pauses.

Hamas initiated the conflict on October 7 with an attack on Israeli territory, resulting in approximately 1,200 deaths and the capture of over 250 hostages, half of whom were freed in a brief November truce.

The ongoing conflict has led to over 36,000 Palestinian deaths, with thousands more feared buried under rubble, according to Gaza health officials. Israeli and U.S. sources report that about half of Hamas’s fighters have been killed, a figure disputed by Hamas. Israel’s military has suffered nearly 300 casualties.

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