Saturday , July 13 2024

Gaza under heavy bombardment as Hamas-Israel battles rage


GAZA CITY: Palestinian armed groups have been attacking Israeli troops stationed at a main junction in central Gaza, where witnesses have reported extensive fire exchanges.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says Israel “impeded” and “denied” a significant number of aid missions to northern Gaza in April, and that despite the opening of a new aid crossing, six months of starvation cannot be ended without a consistent supply of aid.

Tensions remain high at UCLA, where riot police appear set to storm a pro-Palestinian encampment and remove hundreds of protesters.

UNICEF chief Catherine Russell said 600,000 Palestinian children are “crammed into Rafah” and an Israeli ground invasion would bring “catastrophe on top of catastrophe”.

At least 34,596 Palestinians have been killed and 77,816 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,139 with dozens of people still held captive.

Israeli settlers have carried out a tour at Al-Aqsa Mosque and performed Talmudic rituals in the vicinity of Bab ar-Rahma prayer area, the Wafa news agency has reported.

The Jerusalem governorate said about 163 Israeli settlers participated in the provocative tour, protected by Israeli police.

Under the status quo, only Muslims are allowed to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque which includes its courtyard.

Israeli police also increased their military deployments near Al-Aqsa Mosque, preventing young Palestinian men from entering, Wafa reported.

At least 10 Palestinians have been reported injured after Israeli artillery units’ targeted agricultural land in the north of Nuseirat refugee camp.

Israeli forces have arrested 15 Palestinians, including one woman, during their latest round of raids throughout the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

Palestinian armed groups have been attacking Israeli troops who are stationed at a main junction in Gaza’s middle area, where citizens have reported mass confrontations and extensive exchange of fire.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says 28 people were killed and 51 injured in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

The World Health Organization has tracked 443 attacks on Gaza’s healthcare facilities or medical workers, which have killed 723 people and injured 924 since the start of the war.

Netanyahu secured another reprieve in a long-running Israeli dispute over exemptions of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service, with the Supreme Court deferring the deadline for a new conscription plan to May 16.

The court, hearing appeals that described the decades-old waiver as discriminatory, had given March 31 as the original deadline. That was extended to April 30 at the request of the government, which argued it was busy waging the war in Gaza, and which last week asked for a further deferral.

Netanyahu’s coalition includes two ultra-Orthodox parties that regard the exemptions as key to keeping their constituents in religious seminaries and away from a melting-pot military that might test their conservative values.

The latest extension is shorter than that requested by the government, but may still spare Netanyahu a public reckoning over the combustible issue ahead of Israel’s day of commemoration for fallen soldiers on May 13, and Independence Day on May 14.

(Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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