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IDF tanks push back into Gaza as Israel prepares for Rafah operation

UN and Israel continue to trade accusations over humanitarian aid into the Strip

IDF tanks (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90).

Israeli tanks re-entered previously vacated portions of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, according to reports from Gaza residents. Palestinian media also reported that tanks entered the neighborhoods of Beit Hanoun and Jabalya in northern Gaza.

The IDF operation comes following a recent call-up of two military reserve brigades to prepare for re-entry into Gaza. 

One Gaza resident told Reuters that Israeli soldiers “ordered all families inside the schools and the nearby houses where the tanks had advanced to evacuate” the area. 

The IDF announced on Saturday that it was conducting a “precise” operation in Beit Hanoun, but it has not provided regular updates regarding the situation there. 

According to the Palestinian-affiliated WAFA news site, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) “targeted Al-Fakhoura Mosque, west of the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, causing several causalities.” 

Following the the IDF withdrawal from Khan Younis, there have been several reports of evacuees attempting to return to the northern Gaza Strip, despite Israel instructing residents to remain in the south. 

Israel affirmed that the area remains subject to sporadic combat, and could not assure the safety of residents.

The IDF announced on Wednesday morning that its forces are continuing operations against Hamas terrorists and infrastructure in the central Gaza Strip

According to the statement, IAF planes conducted airstrikes against terrorists and terror infrastructure, hitting more than 40 targets over the past day, including “underground launching posts, booby-trapped structures, military structures where armed terrorists operated, observation posts, underground terrorist infrastructure, and additional terrorist infrastructure.” 

WAFA reported heavy artillery and missile shelling at the Nuseirat camp, which it claimed has seen six consecutive days of military activity. Residents of Nuseirat said the IAF bombed and destroyed four multi-story residential buildings in strikes on Tuesday. 

IAF planes also targeted several sites in Rafah, reportedly killing and wounding several people. Palestinian health officials claimed that four people were killed and several more wounded during the overnight strike in Rafah. 

According to reports, the IDF is preparing to enter Rafah soon, the last Hamas stronghold in the Strip. 

Palestinian sources also claimed that an IDF strike in the Maghazi camp killed 11 people, including children. The Israeli military has not commented on the accusations or released any details about raids in the Maghazi camp. 

Meanwhile, Israel and the United Nations continue to trade accusations regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The UN said that Israel continues to place “unlawful” restrictions on aid entering the enclave. 

"Israel continues to impose unlawful restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian assistance, and to carry out widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure," UN Human Rights spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, said during a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

However, Israel confirms it has been increasing aid shipments into the Gaza Strip, with the Erez crossing into the north, reopening.

Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said the UN “needs to do its job” in distributing the aid. 

“We scaled up our capabilities. All the UN did was makeup excuses,” COGAT said in a statement. “Aid needs to be collected and delivered. The UN needs to do its job.” 

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

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