Three Israeli soldiers killed in booby trap explosion in Rafah

| | JERUSALEM
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Three Israeli soldiers killed in booby trap explosion in Rafah

Thursday, 30 May 2024 | AP | JERUSALEM

Three soldiers have been killed in Rafah, the Israeli military said Wednesday. Israeli media reported that the soldiers were killed when a booby trap exploded Tuesday, and three other soldiers were wounded. The military says at least 290 soldiers have been killed since the ground operation in Gaza began in October.

Israel says it is carrying out limited operations in eastern Rafah along the Gaza-Egypt border. Palestinians in Rafah reported heavy fighting Wednesday as Israeli forces pressed their assault on the border town once seen as the territory’s last refuge. The United States and other allies of Israel have warned against a full-fledged offensive in the city.

Israeli leaders say their forces must enter Rafah to dismantle Hamas and return hostages taken in the October 7 attack that triggered the war.

Fighting in Rafah has caused more than 1 million Palestinians to flee, most of whom had already been displaced in the war between Israel and Hamas. They now seek refuge in squalid tent camps and other war-ravaged areas, where they lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the UN says.

Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ October 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

IFRC JOINS GROWING CALLS FOR A CEASE-FIRE:  The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies joined growing calls Wednesday for a cease-fire and humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip, saying these were critically needed to ease the horrific suffering of civilians trapped in the seven-month conflict. “It’s absolutely imperative,” IFRC President Kate Forbes told The Associated Press in an interview in the Philippine capital, Manila, where she was to hold a series of meetings. “First, we have to have a government solution to get a cease-fire so that we can get access and then, we will give aid to both sides.” Some areas need “psychosocial support and in some, it’s going to be absolute aid,” said Forbes, who rose to the presidency of the world’s largest humanitarian network in December. “I’ve said this is both a sprint and a marathon. We need to get aid immediately in Gaza for people who have malnutrition, there’s not adequate sanitation,” she said. “But it’s going to be a marathon in that there’s going to be aid that’s going to be needed for decades to repair Gaza and the people there.”

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