The Latest | Tent compound rises in southern Gaza as Israel prepares for Rafah offensive

Satellite photos analysed by The Associated Press appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip as the Israeli military continues to signal it plans an offensive on the city of Rafah.
South Gaza strip
South Gaza strip

Jerusalem | Satellite photos analysed by The Associated Press appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip as the Israeli military continues to signal it plans an offensive on the city of Rafah.

Khan Younis has been targeted by repeated Israeli military operations over recent weeks. Israel has said it plans to evacuate civilians from Rafah during an anticipated offensive on the southern city, where hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge during the war, now in its seventh month.

The military said it was not involved in the tent construction.

On Monday, a failed rocket strike was launched at a base housing US-led coalition forces at Rumalyn, Syria, marking the first time since February 4 that Iranian-backed militias have attacked a US facility in Iraq or Syria, a US defence official said. No personnel were injured in the attack, and no group has claimed responsibility.

The conflict has sparked regional unrest pitting Israel and the US against Iran and allied militant groups across the Middle East. Israel and Iran traded fire directly this month, raising fears of all-out war.

The war was sparked by the unprecedented October 7 raid into southern Israel in which Hamas and other militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The Israel-Hamas war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, around two-thirds of them children and women. It has devastated Gaza's two largest cities and left a swath of destruction. Around 80 per cent of the territory's population have fled to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave.

The US House of Representatives approved a USD 26 billion aid package on Saturday that includes around USD 9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which experts say is on the brink of famine, as well as billions for Israel. The US Senate could pass the package as soon as Tuesday, and President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately.

Here is the latest:

UN RIGHTS CHIEF RENEWS WARNING AGAINST RAFAH OFFENSIVE

The United Nations' human rights chief is renewing a warning against a large-scale Israeli offensive in the city of Rafah and decrying recent Israeli strikes on the city.

Volker Türk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said that a large incursion into Rafah “would risk more deaths, injuries and displacement on a large scale – even further atrocity crimes, for which those responsible would be held accountable,” his office said in a statement.

Türk deplored three strikes in Rafah in recent days that reportedly killed mostly women and children. He said that “the world's leaders stand united on the imperative of protecting the civilian population trapped in Rafah.” Israel has carried out near-daily air raids on Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million has sought refuge. It has also vowed to expand its ground offensive against the Hamas militant group to the city on the border with Egypt despite calls for restraint, including from the US

AN ISRAELI STRIKE KILLS A HEZBOLLAH OFFICIAL BEIRUT

An Israeli airstrike on a car in southern Lebanon on Tuesday killed a Hezbollah official.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it had killed Hussein Ali Azqul in the strike and described him as a “significant” operative in Hezbollah's aerial defense unit. Hezbollah confirmed in a statement that Azqul had been killed.

State media and witnesses said the strike happened in the area of Adloun, between the coastal cities of Sidon and Tyre, about 40 kilometres north of the border with Israel.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and allied groups have been clashing with Israeli forces along the border for more than six months against the backdrop of Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has regularly carried out targeted killings of Hezbollah and Hamas members in Lebanon, sometimes in areas far from the border.

GAZA HEALTH MINISTRY REPORTS 32 DEAD

The Gaza Health Ministry said Tuesday the bodies of 32 people killed by Israeli strikes have been brought to local hospitals over the past 24 hours. Hospitals also received 59 wounded, it said in its daily report.

That brings the overall Palestinian death toll from the Israel-Hamas war to at least 34,183, the ministry said. Another 77,143 have been injured, it said.

The Health Ministry does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its tallies, but has said that women and children make up around two thirds of those killed.

The Israeli military says it has killed 13,000 militants, without providing evidence to back up the claim.

APPARENT ISRAELI STRIKE HITS CAR IN LEBANON, KILLING AT LEAST 1 BEIRUT

An apparent Israeli airstrike on a car in southern Lebanon killed at least one person Tuesday, officials said.

State media and witnesses said the strike happened in the area of Adloun, between the coastal cities of Sidon and Tyre, about 40 kilometres north of the border with Israel.

It was not immediately clear who was killed.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and allied groups have been clashing with Israeli forces along the border for more than six months against the backdrop of Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on Tuesday's strike. Israel has regularly carried out targeted killings of Hezbollah and Hamas members in Lebanon, sometimes in areas far from the border.

SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW TENT COMPOUND UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN KHAN YOUNIS JERUSALEM

Satellite photos analysed by The Associated Press appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli military continues to signal it plans an offensive targeting the city of Rafah.

Images from Planet Labs PBC analysed by the AP show the tent compound starting to be fully under construction on April 16 just west of Khan Younis. Images taken Sunday show the tent compound in the time since has grown.

The Israeli military said Tuesday that it was not involved in the tent construction near Khan Younis. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, without attributing the information, said that Egypt was constructing the tent compound ahead of a possible Rafah offensive.

The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday about the tents. However, their construction comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened “additional painful blows” targeting Hamas over the breakdown of talks over trying to free the remaining hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

That could include the long-threatened attack on Rafah, where half of the Gaza Strip's 2.3 million people have fled amid the war. The US, Israel's main ally, has repeatedly said any military operation needs to protect civilians.

Netanyahu has said he would order to military to evacuate civilians from Rafah for the offensive, but it is not clear where they could go.

Latest News

No stories found.

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Metrovaartha- En
english.metrovaartha.com