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IDF strikes launch site within Gazan humanitarian zone as forces attempt to complete Rafah operations

US-built Gaza pier resumes operations after brief pause for repairs

Israeli troops in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

A launch site placed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) inside a shelter in the humanitarian area in Khan Younis was struck on Thursday by Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft. The IDF said that, prior to the strike, various measures were taken to mitigate harm to uninvolved civilians. 

The IDF spokesman’s office condemned the violation of international law through the use of human shields.  

“Terror organizations in the Gaza Strip continue to place weapons and terrorist infrastructure in the midst of the civilian population, endangering them and using them as a human shield,” the spokesman said. 

The IDF also said that its forces “eliminated the terrorist Muhammad Abu Taha, a drone operator in the Hamas terrorist organization.” According to the IDF, Abu Taha was responsible for numerous attacks against IDF troops during the Gaza War. 

On Thursday, the Israeli military revealed the discovery of large quantities of weapons hidden in wardrobes in a private home in Rafah, including grenades, explosives, a launcher and anti-tank missiles, ammunition and arms. 

In another home, while using a drone to scan for terrorists, soldiers found a tunnel shaft located under a child’s bed and passages within the walls of buildings. These were allegedly created by Hamas terrorists, allowing them to move quickly between residences while fighting the IDF from inside civilian homes.

Palestinian residents of Rafah reported intensified operations by IDF soldiers in the area, as Israel appears to be attempting to gain operational control of the border town soon. 

In the central Gaza Strip, the IDF’s elite Multi-Domain Unit, or Ghost, completed operations in a university which the military says was used by Hamas as a command center. Terrorists in the university complex opened fire on the troops. After clearing the complex, the troops located a cache of weapons and barrels packed with explosives. 

The military spokesman’s office released the names of two reserve soldiers who were killed during fighting in Gaza on Thursday. 

Sgt. First Class Omer Smadja, 25, and Sergeant First Class Saadia Yaakov Derai, 27, were killed in a mortar attack along the Netzarim corridor, which wounded three other fighters. 

Omer Smadja is the son of Oren Smadja, Israel's former judoka and coach of the Israeli judo team for the Olympic Games in Paris next month. Omer died on his father’s birthday. 

Since the beginning of ground operations in Gaza, 310 soldiers have been killed in the fighting. 

Early on Friday afternoon, three rockets were launched from Nuseirat, in central Gaza. The rockets fell in open areas and no injuries were reported. 

The United States Pentagon also announced that the Gaza pier, built on the order of U.S. President Joe Biden to assist with the delivery of humanitarian aid, has resumed operations. The pier had been damaged during heavy seas, requiring the U.S. Navy to detach parts of the pier for repair. 

Maj.-Gen. Pat Ryder said that over 656 metric tons (1.4 million pounds) of aid were delivered via the pier on Thursday following the resumption of normal operations. According to Ryder, the UN World Food Programme is in charge of aid distribution. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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