At least nine people, including children and women, were killed in Israeli airstrikes overnight into Friday in the central area of the Gaza Strip and in the southern city of Rafah on the border with Egypt, witnesses and hospital officials said.
The overnight airstrikes came hours after U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that he considers Israel’s conduct of the war to be “over the top.”
The U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, left Israel on Thursday as the divide grows between the two close allies on the way forward.
More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population has been driven by Israel’s military offensive toward the border with Egypt. Unable to leave the tiny Palestinian territory, many are living in makeshift tent camps or overflowing U.N.-run shelters.
The Palestinian death toll from the war has surpassed 27,840 people, the Health Ministry in Gaza said. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving.
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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— Find more of news agencies’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Here’s the latest:
RAFAH, Gaza Strip — The U.N. children’s agency called on all parties to refrain from military escalation in Rafah, at the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, warning that there are more than 600,000 children in the area, some of whom have been displaced more than once since the war began four months ago.
UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement late Thursday that military escalation in Rafah would mark “another devastating turn in a war” that has killed over 27,000 people according to health officials in Gaza.
She said it could leave thousands more dead through violence or lack of essential services, and further disrupt humanitarian assistance.