Palestinians sift through rubble, recall Israeli strike on Rafah

RAFAH, Gaza — Palestinians searched through the remains of a damaged house in Rafah on Thursday morning, recounting their experiences during an Israeli airstrike.

“I had bought some falafel. I was about to sit down to eat when I felt a rocket coming and I fell back. My head was open… they took me to the American hospital,” said Rami Al-Loulou, a resident of Rafah.

Israel continued tank and aerial strikes on southern Gaza after advancing through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Tuesday, severing a critical aid route. Israel maintains the strikes are necessary to counteract thousands of Hamas fighters reportedly in the area.

According to the Gaza health ministry, Israel’s offensive has resulted in 34,844 Palestinian deaths over seven months, most of them civilians.

The conflict ignited on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants launched attacks on Israel, killing approximately 1,200 people and abducting 252. Of those kidnapped, 128 remain hostages in Gaza, and 36 have been declared dead, as per the latest Israeli data.