Israel pushes deep into Gaza, intensifies offensive in Rafah

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In a significant escalation, Israeli forces pushed deep into the northern edge of Gaza and advanced into Rafah in the south on Monday, May 13, as part of a continued effort to recapture areas from Hamas. Tanks and troops moved across a highway into Rafah, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands of people flee the region.

The ongoing operations in Rafah, which borders Egypt, have led to the closure of a crucial crossing point for humanitarian aid. This development has further deteriorated the living conditions for Gaza’s residents, with shortages of medical supplies, food, and fuel becoming increasingly severe.

“The wounded and sick suffer a slow death because there is no treatment and supplies and they cannot travel,” Gaza’s health authority stated, appealing for international pressure to reopen access via the southern border for essential aid.

Israeli forces push deep into Gaza, intensifying the offensive in Rafah, worsening the humanitarian crisis. UN staff casualty reported.

Israeli forces push deep into Gaza, intensifying the offensive in Rafah, worsening the humanitarian crisis. UN staff casualty reported.

UN Security Staff Member Killed in Rafah

The conflict took a grim turn with the death of a UN security staff member, identified as an Indian national. The staff member was killed when a UN-marked vehicle traveling to a hospital in Rafah was struck, marking the first international UN fatality in the Gaza conflict. A UN spokesperson confirmed the incident, bringing the total death toll of UN personnel to around 190.

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Intense Fighting in Northern Gaza

In northern Gaza’s Jabalia, Israeli forces have reportedly pushed into an area previously claimed to have been cleared of Hamas. The intense fighting has caused mass displacement, with residents fleeing along rubble-strewn streets, carrying what little belongings they could.

“We don’t know where to go. We have been displaced from one place to the next… We are running in the streets. I saw it with my own eyes. I saw the tank and the bulldozer. It is on that street,” a woman, who did not give her name, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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Rising Casualties and Destruction

An Israeli airstrike on a house in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed at least eight people, according to Mahmoud Basal, a spokesperson for the Gaza Civil Emergency Service. The Palestinian death toll in the ongoing conflict has now surpassed 35,000, with 57 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours alone, as per Gaza health officials. These figures encompass both civilians and fighters.

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Humanitarian Crisis Deepens

The closure of the Rafah border crossing has intensified the humanitarian crisis, leaving many without access to critical aid. The international community faces mounting pressure to intervene and provide relief to the beleaguered population of Gaza.

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