GAZA: A man pushes a wheelchair filled with belongings past garbage piled up near tents set up by displaced Palestinians in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024. - AFP
GAZA: A man pushes a wheelchair filled with belongings past garbage piled up near tents set up by displaced Palestinians in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024. - AFP

Rafah rocked by Zionist brutality

Scores killed across Gaza • Hezbollah uses new weapons in Zionist attacks

GAZA: Heavy clashes and bombardment rocked Rafah on Saturday, as the Zionist entity pressed an assault against Hamas that has led hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee the southern Gaza city. The Zionist military said its air forces hit more than 70 targets across the Gaza Strip while ground troops conducted “raids” in eastern Rafah.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, said it fired a barrage of rockets towards the city of Ashkelon and targeted a Zionist command center at the Jabalia refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip. An AFP reporter said air strikes and artillery shells pounded eastern Rafah as warplanes crisscrossed over the city on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

The Rafah crossing, a vital conduit for humanitarian assistance, has been closed since the Zionist entity launched its operation in the city last week. The Zionist entity’s offensive has killed at least 35,386 people in Gaza, mostly women and children. The toll includes at least 83 deaths over the past 24 hours, said a health ministry statement on Saturday.

More than 10 days into what the army called a “limited” operation in Rafah that sparked an exodus of Palestinians, fighting between Zionist forces and Palestinian militants has also flared again in northern Gaza. The Zionist entity said in early January it had dismantled Hamas’ command structure in the north, but the army said Hamas had been “in complete control here in Jabalia until we arrived a few days ago”.

Hamas slammed what it called the Zionist entity’s “intensified brutal raids” on Jabalia, saying they had killed dozens of civilians and wounded hundreds more while targeting schools and shelters. “The escalating crimes of the occupation will not succeed in breaking the will of our brave resistance or in deterring our proud people from their decision to stand firm on their land,” it said.

The Zionist incursion into Rafah, launched despite overwhelming international opposition and as mediators were hoping for a breakthrough in stalled truce talks, has worsened an already dire humanitarian crisis, aid groups say. With key land crossings closed or operating at limited capacity due to the fighting, some relief supplies began flowing into Gaza via a temporary, floating pier constructed by the United States.

The Zionist army said 310 pallets began moving ashore in “the first entry of humanitarian aid through the floating pier”. Satellite pictures taken on Saturday showed more than a dozen trucks lining up on the approach road to the pier. In the coming days, around 500 tons of aid are expected to be delivered to Gaza through the pier, according to US Central Command.

The army said troops in Gaza had recovered late Thursday the bodies of four captives whom it said had been killed on Oct 7. The Zionist entity has vowed to defeat remaining Hamas forces in Rafah, which it says is the last bastion of the Iran-backed group. The looming Zionist assault has prompted nearly 640,000 of the 1.4 million people who had been sheltering in the southern city to flee to other areas, the UN has said.

Palestinian sources in Rafah said Zionist forces were operating in the city’s Al-Salam and Jenina neighborhoods as well as on the Philadelphi route along the Egyptian border. “Troops are advancing and retreating around these areas,” a security source said. Cairo, which has been involved in mediation efforts during the war, says a potential Zionist takeover of Philadelphi could violate its landmark 1979 peace deal with Egypt.

In northern Gaza’s Beit Lahia, witnesses reported air strikes near Kamal Adwan hospital on Saturday. The hospital’s director Hussam Abu Safiya said Friday the facility had received “large numbers” of casualties from nearby Jabalia and was running low on supplies. The fuel aid that had reached the hospital was “barely enough for a few days”, Abu Safiya told AFP. The World Health Organization has received no medical supplies in Gaza since the Rafah operation began on May 6, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said Friday.

Lebanon’s powerful armed group Hezbollah announced on Thursday it had used a drone capable of firing rockets at a military position in one of its latest attacks in the Zionist entity’s north. Hezbollah announced it had used an “armed attack drone” equipped with two S-5 rockets on a military position in Metula in the Zionist entity.

The Iran-backed group published a video showing the drone heading towards the position, where tanks were stationed, with the footage showing the moment the two rockets were released followed by the drone exploding. It was the first time they had announced the use of this type of weapon since the cross-border exchanges with the Zionist entity erupted in October. The Zionist army said three soldiers were wounded in Thursday’s attack.

Hezbollah-affiliated media said that the drone’s warhead consisted of between 25 and 30 kg of high explosive. Military analyst Khalil Helou told AFP that the use of drones offers Hezbollah the ability to launch the attack from within Zionist territory, as they can fly at low altitudes, evading detection by radar.

Hezbollah also announced on Wednesday that it had launched a strike using “attack drones” on a base west of the northern Israeli town of Tiberias. That attack was the group’s deepest into Zionist territory since fighting flared, analysts said. In recent weeks, the Lebanese militant group has announced attacks that it has described as “complex”, using attack drones and missiles to hit military positions, as well as troops and vehicles.

It has also used guided and heavy missiles, such as Iran’s Burkan and Almas missiles, as well as the Jihad Mughniyeh missile, named after a Hezbollah leader killed by Zionist fire in Syria in 2015. Helou, a retired general, said that despite its new weaponry, Hezbollah still relied primarily on Kornet anti-tank missiles with a range of just five to eight kilometers. They also use the Konkurs anti-tank missile, which can penetrate the Zionist entity’s Iron Dome defense system. - AFP

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