Israeli airstrikes killed at least 13 people overnight into Thursday in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas’ cease-fire terms and said he would expand the offensive into the southern Gaza town.
Rafah is the main entry point for humanitarian aid and more than half of Gaza’s population has fled there seeking refuge. Egypt has said any operation there or mass displacement across the border would undermine its four-decade-old peace treaty with Israel.
Two women and five children were among those killed in the airstrikes, according to the Kuwaiti Hospital, which received the bodies.
Israel’s military has so far ordered Palestinians to evacuate two-thirds of the tiny coastal enclave. Many of the displaced are living in squalid tent camps near Gaza’s southern border with Egypt and in overflowing U.N.-run shelters. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the Middle East on Thursday with public divisions between the United States and Israel at perhaps their worst level since the Israel-Hamas war began.
The Palestinian death toll has surpassed 27,000 people, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.
The war began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault into Israel, in which militants killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250. Hamas is still holding over 130 hostages, but around 30 of them are believed to be dead.
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Here’s the latest:
TEL AVIV, Israel — An Israeli man who was believed to have been kidnapped by Palestinian militants during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack has been confirmed as being dead.
Kibbutz Be’eri, the community from which Manny Goddard was abducted, said Thursday that he was likely killed during the attack and his body is being held in Gaza.
Goddard’s wife, Ayelet, was also killed on Oct. 7. The couple are survived by four children.
Hamas is believed to be holding more than 130 hostages, but around 30 are believed to be dead. More than 100 hostages were freed in November in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
Kibbutz Be’eri, near the Gaza border, was hit particularly hard in the attack. Eleven residents are still held inside Gaza, six of whom are believed to be dead.
Hamas and other militants rampaged through several Israeli communities during the cross-border attack, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and igniting the war in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 27,000 Palestinians.