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    “31 Killed in Gaza by Israeli Strike During US Envoy’s Meeting with Netanyahu”


    Israeli Strike Kills 31 in Gaza as US Envoy Meets Benjamin Netanyahu

    A severe escalation in the Gaza conflict has resulted in the death of 31 people following an Israeli strike in central Gaza, as confirmed by the Palestinian territory’s civil defence agency. This incident coincided with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s visit to the region for discussions on the ongoing hostilities.

    Israeli forces have advanced into Rafah, the far-southern city of the Gaza Strip, which the Israeli army identifies as the last significant stronghold of Hamas. The US reports that the fighting has displaced approximately 800,000 civilians in the area.

    Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, announced it was targeting Israeli forces at the Rafah crossing—a crucial route for humanitarian aid that is currently closed—with mortar fire. Meanwhile, Israeli forces are engaged in battles with Hamas fighters in northern and central Gaza, raising concerns from the US about the potential for a protracted counterinsurgency campaign.

    In a recent aerial assault, Gaza’s civil defence agency reported that an Israeli strike had killed 31 people and wounded 20 in the Nuseirat refugee camp. Israeli military sources confirmed that they had struck numerous targets over the past 24 hours but were verifying the specific reports of the casualties in Nuseirat.

    Witness Yasser Abu Oula described the devastation, stating that an entire residential complex was destroyed, with bodies still trapped under the rubble.

    During his visit, Jake Sullivan met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi, in Jerusalem. The discussions focused on the brutal conflict in Gaza and potential post-war scenarios. Sullivan briefed Netanyahu on the prospects of a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, highlighting the need to link military operations against Hamas with a political strategy for Gaza’s future.

    The US has advocated for a post-war plan involving Palestinians and supported by regional powers, aiming for a broader diplomatic agreement that includes normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Domestically, Netanyahu faces mounting pressure to outline a plan for Gaza’s post-war governance. Centrist politician Benny Gantz has threatened to leave the governing coalition if Netanyahu does not approve a post-war “action plan” by June 8. Gantz calls for the defeat of Hamas, the return of hostages, and the establishment of an international administration to manage Gaza’s civilian affairs.

    Netanyahu has dismissed Gantz’s demands, arguing that such a plan would lead to “a defeat for Israel” and the creation of a Palestinian state, which he strongly opposes.

    US President Joe Biden has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, advocating for a regional peace deal and a two-state solution. The war erupted after Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, which killed more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, and saw around 250 hostages taken by Hamas, with 124 still held in Gaza.

    Israel’s retaliatory strikes have resulted in the deaths of at least 35,456 people in Gaza, primarily civilians, as reported by Gaza’s health ministry. The ongoing conflict has led to severe humanitarian crises, with Gaza’s residents facing critical shortages of water, food, medicine, and fuel due to Israel’s siege.

    UNRWA Chief Philippe Lazzarini warned that the offensive in Rafah has forced about half of Gaza’s population to flee, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. The UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, stressed that without alleviation of fuel shortages, a famine is imminent.

    Despite the dire situation, aid shipments have been sporadic. The UAE recently sent 252 tonnes of aid via Cyprus, while the US has facilitated aid entry through a temporary floating pier. However, challenges remain, with truck arrivals slowing due to the closure of the Rafah crossing and attacks on Gaza-bound trucks.

    Sources By Agencies

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