Israeli army enters center of Rafah

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Israeli tanks on Tuesday marched towards the center of Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, as tens of thousands of residents fled to evade an Israeli ground offensive, a local source reported.

The source told Xinhua that the tanks had reached the Al-Geneina neighborhood and were advancing towards the city center “amid heavy gunfire.”

The Israeli tanks’ advance to these areas, following hours of intense air and artillery bombardment on Rafah last night, marks an expansion of the ground operation initiated by the Israeli army in the eastern region of Rafah a few days ago, the source added.

In a joint press statement, the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, announced that their militants had targeted Israeli forces in Rafah.

They claimed that their militants had “destroyed a troop carrier with a shell in the Al-Salam neighborhood, east of the city of Rafah.”

In a separate statement, the Al-Quds Brigades added that they had targeted Israeli soldiers and vehicles near the Rafah crossing using mortar shells.

Nearly 450,000 people have been forcibly displaced from Rafah since May 6, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said in a statement on Tuesday.

“People face constant exhaustion, hunger and fear. Nowhere is safe. An immediate ceasefire is the only hope”, the statement added.

Source: Xinhua

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