Gaza hospital officials say Israeli strike kills 5 in Rafah

by Admin
Gaza hospital officials say Israeli strike kills 5 in Rafah

Israel’s military said Thursday its forces carried out airstrikes on more than 30 targets in the Gaza Strip in the past day, while Gaza hospital officials said an Israeli strike killed at least five people in the southern city of Rafah.

The Israel Defense Forces said its targets included a Hamas warehouse and areas in central Gaza from which militants fired rockets at Israeli forces.

The continued fighting in Gaza came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law a $95 billion foreign aid bill that contains $26.4 billion for Israel, including military spending, and about $1 billion for humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza.

Separately, the top U.N. aid official for Gaza told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that preparations for building a floating port and pier off Gaza are advancing, with the involvement of the United States and other countries.

Sigrid Kaag said the U.N. has outlined the parameters under which it can play a meaningful role in the distribution of aid from this corridor but was clear that neither sea nor air deliveries could substitute for truck convoys.

“Land routes are the only way to bring in the bulk of supplies needed,” she said.

Hope for one hostage’s family

Hamas released a video Wednesday, apparently showing Israeli American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who was among some 250 hostages taken during the October 7 Hamas terror attacks inside Israel.

The video could not be independently verified, but his family said they believe the video is of him.

A still from a video released by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on April 24, 2024, shows a man who identified himself as Hersh Goldberg-Polin, one of the hostages abducted from a music festival in Israel during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, 2023.

In the nearly three-minute video, the now 24-year-old Goldberg-Polin criticizes the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not protecting him and other Israelis on October 7. He said Netanyahu should be “ashamed” for leaving the hostages for more than 200 days and rejecting deals for their release.

Goldberg-Polin said he has been living in an “underground hell” and held up his left arm, showing the stump where his hand was blown off by a grenade during the attack on the Nova music festival where he was abducted.

His reference to how long he has been held, and another reference to the Jewish Passover holiday this week, suggest the tape was made recently. U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said the FBI is examining the video.

Hamas periodically releases propaganda videos like this one to pressure Israel’s government, where citizens have been demonstrating daily for the release of the hostages, and to cause further psychological distress.

The Hostages Families Forum said the Goldberg-Polin family allowed the video to be shared after it was released by Hamas.

“Hersh’s cry is the collective cry of all the hostages — their time is rapidly running out,” the forum said in a statement. “With each passing day, the fear of losing more innocent lives grows stronger. We cannot afford to waste any more time; the hostages must be the top priority.”

According to Israel, about 1,200 people were killed and some 250 others taken hostage during the Hamas attack in October. Israel says the militants are still holding about 100 captives and the remains of more than 30 others.

The U.S., Britain, Israel and several other countries have designated Hamas as a terrorist group.

Israel’s response, a military campaign it says is aimed at eliminating Hamas and ensuring the group cannot carry out a future attack, has killed more than 34,300 Palestinians and injured more than 77,200 others, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says women and children account for two-thirds of those killed.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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