Rockets Fired from Gaza as Israeli Tanks Advance

July 1, 2024 by No Comments

On Monday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched a barrage of rockets into Israel, a display of force coinciding with intensified Israeli tank incursions deeper into Gaza amidst ongoing clashes, according to residents and officials.

The Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, an Iranian-backed ally of Hamas, declared that its fighters had targeted several Israeli settlements near the Gaza border with rockets in response to “the Zionist enemy’s crimes against our Palestinian people”.

While the Israeli military reported no casualties from the approximately 20 rockets fired, it highlighted the militants’ continued possession of rocket capabilities nearly nine months into Israel’s offensive, aimed at dismantling threats against it.

In certain parts of Gaza, militants continue to engage Israeli forces in areas the army had withdrawn from months prior.

On Monday, Israeli tanks deepened their penetrations into the Shejaia suburb in eastern Gaza City for the fifth consecutive day, and tank advances were observed in western and central Rafah, in southern Gaza near the Egyptian border, according to residents.

The Israeli military reported the killing of several militants in Shejaia combat on Monday, along with the discovery of substantial weapons caches in the area.

Hamas claimed that in Rafah, its militants lured an Israeli force into a booby-trapped house in the eastern part of the city, subsequently detonating it, resulting in casualties.

Also in Rafah, the Israeli military reported the killing of a militant who fired an anti-tank missile at its troops during an airstrike.

Israel has indicated that its operation in Rafah, intended to eradicate Hamas, will soon conclude. Following the intense phase of the war, Israeli forces will focus on smaller-scale operations aimed at preventing Hamas from regrouping, according to officials.

The war erupted on October 7, when Hamas-led fighters infiltrated southern Israel, killing 1,200 individuals and abducting approximately 250 hostages, including civilians and soldiers, back into Gaza, based on Israeli figures.

Israel’s air, ground, and naval counteroffensive has so far resulted in the deaths of nearly 38,000 individuals, according to the Gaza health ministry, leaving the densely populated coastal enclave in ruins.

The Gaza health ministry does not differentiate between combatants and non-combatants, but officials assert that the majority of the deceased are civilians. Israel has lost 316 soldiers in Gaza and maintains that at least a third of the Palestinian fatalities are fighters.

Mediation efforts by Arab intermediaries, backed by the , to secure a ceasefire have stalled. Hamas demands that any agreement must end the war and necessitate a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israel, on the other hand, insists on only temporary pauses in hostilities until Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2007, is eliminated.

Palestinian border officials reported that Israeli authorities released 54 Palestinians detained during the war.

Among the released was Mohammad Abu Selmeyah, the director of Al Shifa Hospital, who was apprehended by the military when its forces initially stormed the medical facility in November.

Israel alleged that Hamas had been utilizing the hospital for military purposes. The military has disclosed CCTV footage from the hospital on October 7, showcasing armed individuals and hostages on the premises, and has taken journalists to a tunnel discovered within the complex.

Hamas has repeatedly denied using hospitals . Abu Selmeyah dismissed the allegations on Monday and stated that detainees had endured abuse during their captivity, including deprivation of food and medicine, and that some had perished.

“I was subjected to severe torture, my little finger was broken, and I was beaten in the head until blood came out, more than once,” Abu Selmeyah told a press conference at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah.

In May, Israel announced its investigation into the deaths of Palestinians captured during the war, as well as a military-run detention camp where released detainees and rights groups have alleged inmate abuse.

The military has not yet commented on Abu Selmeyah’s statements.