Israeli forces deepen Rafah invasion, killing 17 in central camps

GAZA CITY — Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday killed at least 17 Palestinians in two of the Gaza Strip’s historic refugee camps, while Israeli tanks pushed deeper into the southern city of Rafah, according to residents and medics.

Residents reported heavy bombardments from tanks and planes in several areas of Rafah, where more than a million people had taken refuge before May. Most of the population has fled northwards since then as Israeli forces invaded the city.

“Rafah is being bombed without any intervention from the world. The occupation [Israel] is acting freely here,” a Rafah resident and father of six told Reuters via a chat app.

Israeli tanks were operating inside Tel Al-Sultan, Al-Izba, and Zurub areas in Rafah’s west, as well as Shaboura in the heart of the city. They also continued to occupy the eastern neighborhoods and outskirts, along with the border with Egypt and the vital Rafah border crossing.

“There are Israeli forces in most areas. There is heavy resistance too, and they are making them pay dearly, but the occupation is not ethical and they are destroying the city and the refugee camp,” the resident said.

Palestinian health officials reported that one man was killed in the morning by Israeli fire on the eastern side of Rafah. Medics believe many others have been killed in recent days and weeks, but rescue teams have been unable to reach them.

The Israeli military stated that it was continuing “precise, intelligence-based activity” in Rafah, killing many Palestinian gunmen over the past day in close-range combat and seizing weapons. The air force struck dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip in the past day, it added.

In the central Gaza Strip, two separate Israeli airstrikes on houses killed 17 Palestinians in Al-Nuseirat and Al-Bureij, two designated refugee camps home to families and descendants of people who fled to Gaza during the 1948 war around the creation of Israel, medics said.