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.”