Israel-Hamas War: Palestinian Agency Says Gaza ‘Safe Zone’ Hit By Israeli Strikes, IDF Denies Claim – News18

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A satellite view shows tents and shelters at Al Mawasi, Gaza, May 4, 2024. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Israeli military strikes hit Al-Mawasi in southern Gaza amid ongoing tensions. Palestinian outfit seeks ceasefire amid escalating violence

The Palestinian news agency WAFA on Thursday claimed the Israeli military launched strikes in southern Gaza, bombarding an area it had previously designated as a ‘safe zone’. However, the IDF denied carrying out strikes in the al-Mawasi area on the coast of southern Gaza, designated as a “humanitarian zone.”

This report comes as a US-backed Israeli proposal for a ceasefire and hostage deal appears to be in limbo, according to CNN. Earlier in May, the Israeli military ordered people in eastern Rafah to “immediately head to the expanded humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi,” which it designated as a “safe zone”. The Al-Mawasi camp was already crowded with displaced people before civilians in Rafah were ordered to move there, according to US media reports.

More than 1 million people have fled the Gaza city of Rafah to the nearby areas of Al-Mawasi, Deir al-Balah and Khan Younis in recent weeks, according to a report from Oxfam. Some 1.7 million people, more than two-thirds of Gaza’s population, are now estimated to be crammed into an area of 69 square kilometers.

On Wednesday, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets toward northern Israel, hours after an Israeli airstrike killed a senior commander. The Israeli military said some of the 215 projectiles were intercepted, while others ignited brush fires. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Hezbollah said it fired missiles and rockets at two military bases and vowed to intensify its attacks in response to Israel’s killing of Taleb Sami Abdullah.

Hezbollah, an Iran-backed ally of the Palestinian group Hamas, has recently been striking further inside Israel and introducing new and more advanced weaponry. Israeli warplanes have bombed deep inside Lebanon. Hezbollah says it will only stop the attacks if there is a truce in Gaza. The pressure on Israel’s northern border came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said mediators are trying to close the deal for an elusive cease-fire and hostage release in Gaza.

Hamas has requested numerous changes to a US-backed proposal, some of which Blinken said were “workable” and some not. Hamas says its “amendments” aim to guarantee a permanent cease-fire and complete Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza. The cease-fire proposal announced by U.S. President Joe Biden includes those provisions, but Hamas has expressed wariness whether Israel will implement the terms.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies. U.N. agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by mid-July. Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people and abducted about 250.

(With agency inputs)