Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Latest Israel-Hamas war news and Gaza conflict updates

At least 13 people were killed in a days-long raid by Israel’s military in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said Saturday, adding that one of those who died was a 15-year-old boy.

The operation began Thursday in the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarm, a city in the northern part of the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces said it was conducting “extensive counterterrorism activity” in the camp, where poverty and unemployment are rampant, according to the United Nations.

The IDF said in a statement Saturday that it had killed 10 “terrorists” in the raid in Nur Shams and apprehended eight other suspects. The military said it found explosive devices, weapons and a “terror explosives laboratory.” The claims could not immediately be confirmed.

One Israeli border police officer and eight IDF soldiers were injured in the raid, the statement said.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah, a number of dead and wounded were inside the camp Saturday but Israeli forces prevented ambulances from reaching them. Soldiers detained an ambulance crew at the entrance of a hospital in Tulkarm on Saturday and also blocked emergency vehicles from entering the camp on Friday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.

“Israeli forces … have caused extensive destruction to civilian infrastructure during their military raid of Nur Shams refugee camp,” the charity group Medical Aid for Palestinians said Saturday.

The IDF did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the alleged killing of the 15-year-old boy or the reports saying it had blocked ambulances.

The “targeting” and obstruction of paramedics and other health-care workers by Israeli forces was a “blatant and clear violation of international humanitarian law,” the health ministry said in a statement.

Also on Saturday, the ministry said a 50-year-old ambulance driver was fatally shot near the village of Al-Sawiya, south of Nablus, while transporting two people allegedly shot by Israeli settlers. The people were eventually brought to a hospital with moderate injuries, the ministry added.

Such attacks by settlers have become more frequent since Oct. 7, when Hamas fighters from Gaza attacked Israel. OCHA, the U.N. humanitarian affairs agency, said this week that there are, on average, seven settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank each day.

Also Saturday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said his government plans to reconsider bilateral relations with the United States, after the Biden administration vetoed a resolution at the U.N. Security Council to admit the Palestinian territories as a full member state.

Palestinians are currently represented as a “permanent observer state.”

In an interview with WAFA, the Palestinian state news agency, Abbas said that the United States had “broken all the promises” it made about reaching a two-state solution with Israel and achieving peace in the region.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed nine people in the city of Rafah, the civil defense authority said, adding that most of the victims were children. In response to a request for comment, the IDF said it “struck a terror target in Rafah today.”

Much of Gaza’s displaced population has fled to the city near the Egyptian border.

Here’s what else to know

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Saturday to provide military aid for Israel and humanitarian aid for Palestinians. The legislation — which passed 366-58 in the body narrowly controlled by Republicans — stipulates that funds may not be sent to UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees. The Senate is expected to take up the bill next week.

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh met Saturday with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan’s office said in a statement. The leader of Turkey is an outspoken supporter of Hamas and has been critical of Israel for its war in Gaza. Earlier this month, Turkey announced sanctions on some Israeli goods and materials.

Protesters and some family members of hostages held by Hamas gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to call for the return of their loved ones. Organizers said the protest marked a “moment before Passover,” the Jewish holiday that begins Monday. A video shown at the protest in Tel Aviv said: “Until they return, it’s not a holiday and it’s not seder.”

A blast at a militia base in central Iraq killed at least one person and injured eight others, the military said. The Popular Mobilization Forces, an array of factions including some linked to Iran, said in a statement that the base was “attacked.” But authorities said no aircraft was detected at the time of the blast. U.S. Central Command said in a statement that it had not conducted any airstrikes in Iraq.

At least 34,049 people have been killed and 76,901 injured in Gaza since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and says that 260 soldiers have been killed since its military operation in Gaza began.

Mustafa Salim, Cate Brown, Steve Hendrix and Alon Rom contributed to this report.



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