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No end in sight as death toll rises in Gaza and Israel escalates attacks

A woman mourns over the bodies of family members killed during Israeli bombardment overnight, at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip.

A woman mourns family members killed in an Israeli attack, outside al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza. [Said Khatib/AFP]

Israel’s armed forces have intensified their bombardment of the Gaza Strip and carried out raids in the occupied West Bank as humanitarian aid efforts are near collapse.

The Israeli military hit Rafah in southern Gaza twice overnight, reports said, as United Nations officials warned there are no safe places left in the besieged territory.

The centre of Khan Younis, Gaza’s second-largest city, has also seen fighting amid Israel’s widening air and ground offensive in the southern part of the enclave where tens of thousands of Palestinians have no safe place to shelter. Air strikes in northern Gaza have flattened residential buildings.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has said that 17,177 people – including 7,112 children – have been killed and 46,000 wounded since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started on October 7.

In the occupied West Bank, the death toll stood at 266, with 3,365 wounded.

The Israeli army said that 1,147 people have died, including 418 soldiers.

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said that negotiations were continuing for the opening of another border crossing between Israel and Gaza to allow more humanitarian aid to be delivered.

“We do not have a humanitarian operation in the south of Gaza that can be called by that name any more,” he told reporters in Geneva.

“What we have at the moment … [is] at best humanitarian opportunism,” he said, adding that trucks crossing through relied on chance rather than planning. “It’s erratic, undependable and, frankly, not sustainable.”

People pray over the bodies of victims killed during Israeli bombardment overnight at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah.

People pray over the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes, at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza, where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have been sheltering. [Said Khatib/AFP]

A member of the al-Hopi family carries the body of a child killed during Israeli bombardment overnight in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip.

A member of the al-Hopi family carries the body of a child killed during the Israeli military’s bombardment in Rafah. [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

The father of two-year-old Muhammad Saleh Farhat, who was killed with others during Israeli bombardment overnight, places his body among victims outside al-Najjar hospital in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip.

The father of two-year-old Muhammad Saleh Farhat, who was killed with others in Israeli strikes, places his body outside al-Najjar hospital. [Said Khatib/AFP]

A Palestinian woman gestures following Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian woman gestures following Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. [Mohammed Dahman/AP Photo]

Palestinians evacuate a wounded woman following Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians evacuate a wounded woman following Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis. [Mohammed Dahman/AP Photo]

Palestinians carry a dead girl, found under the rubble of a destroyed building following Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip.

People carry a girl’s body, found under the rubble of a destroyed home, after Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis. [Mohammed Dahman/AP Photo]

Palestinians rescue a man from a destroyed building following Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians rescue a man from a destroyed building in Khan Younis. [Mohammed Dahman/AP Photo]

Palestinian wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip aisbrought to the hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip.

A wounded man is brought to the hospital in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza. [Adel Hana/AP Photo]

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip set up a tent camp in the Muwasi area.

Displaced Palestinians set up a tent camp in al-Mawasi area along Gaza’s Mediterranean coast. [Fatima Shbair/AP Photo]

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip set up a tent camp in the Muwasi area.

Israel declared roughly 6.5sq km (2.5 sq miles) of al-Mawasi in southwestern Gaza to be a safe zone. A heated debate between Israel and international humanitarian organisations continues over the safety of the territory’s civilians. [Fatima Shbair/AP Photo]

A boy carries wood for heating and cooking in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The United Nations and relief groups say al-Mawasi is a poorly planned attempt to impose a solution for people who have been displaced after being forced to evacuate from the north – and offers no guarantee of safety. [Mohammed Abed/AFP]

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip arrive in the Muwasi area.

The al-Mawasi area has no running water or bathrooms, assistance and international humanitarian groups are nowhere to be found, and the tents provide little protection from the winter rain. [Fatima Shbair/AP Photo]

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