Israel kills senior Gaza health official, tanks push deeper into Rafah

AFP

An Israeli air strike at a medical clinic in Gaza City killed the director of Gaza's Ambulance and Emergency Department, the enclave's health ministry said, while Israel's military said the strike had killed a senior Hamas armed commander.

The health ministry said the killing of Hani al-Jaafarawi brought the number of medical staff killed by Israeli fire since October 7 to 500. At least 300 others have so far been detained.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the strike targeted Mohammad Salah, who it said was responsible for developing Hamas weaponry.

"Salah was part of a project to develop strategic weaponry for the Hamas terrorist organisation, and he commanded a number of Hamas terrorist squads that worked on developing weapons," it said.

More than eight months into the fighting, international mediation backed by the United States has so far failed to bring a ceasefire agreement. Hamas says any agreement must bring an end the war, while Israel says it will agree only temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is eradicated.

In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, Israeli forces which took control of the eastern, southern, and central parts of the city pursued their raid into the western and northern areas, said residents, describing heavy fighting.

On Sunday, residents had said Israeli tanks had advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of Rafah, forcing many families to leave northward to Khan Younis and to Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, the only city in the enclave where tanks have not yet invaded.

Israel denies targeting civilians and blames Hamas for provoking civilian casualties by fighting among them, which Hamas denies.

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