Israel’s chief of staff approves continuation of war in Gaza

Israel’s allies have urgently warned against an offensive in Rafah because hundreds of thousands of Palestinian internally displaced people are crowded there. However, Israel considers an operation in Rafah to be necessary to destroy the remaining battalions of the Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas. Otherwise, a reinvigoration of Hamas is to be expected.

Mourners rebury the bodies of Palestinians buried earlier at Nasser hospital, after bodies were moved to a cemetery in Khan Younis, southern Gaza on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Hagari addressed the hostages held by Hamas directly on Sunday. “We will continue to fight until you come home,” he said. The relatives of the hostages were in an unbearable situation and everything would be done to free their loved ones, he added.

Gaza’s civil defence said on Sunday dozens of bodies had been found buried at a hospital complex previously raided by Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ramp up military pressure on Hamas.

Gaza’s civil defence agency said its teams had discovered 50 bodies since Saturday buried in what Hamas called a “mass grave” in the courtyard of the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza’s main southern city of Khan Younis.

“We … are waiting for all graves to be exhumed in order to give a final number of martyrs,” Mahmud Bassal, spokesman for the civil defence agency, told Agence France-Presse.

“There were no clothes on some bodies, which certainly indicates [the victims] faced torture and abuse,” Bassal said.

Israel’s military said it was checking the reports.

Israel will fight any sanctions on IDF army battalions, says PM Netanyahu

Israel pulled its ground forces from Khan Younis on April 7 after carrying out what it called a “precise and limited operation” at the hospital, one of Gaza’s biggest.

Hospitals in Gaza have faced the brunt of the Israeli assault, with the military accusing Hamas of using them as command centres and to hold hostages abducted in the October 7 attack, claims denied by the militants.

On Sunday, an Agence France-Presse photographer saw civil defence crews exhuming human remains from the courtyard, while grieving relatives collected bodies wrapped in white.

Earlier this week, the G7 group of developed economies said it opposed a “full-scale military operation” in Rafah, fearing “catastrophic consequences” for civilians.

Israeli forces have already carried out regular air strikes on the city.

The civil defence agency said Israeli strikes hit two homes in Rafah overnight, killing at least 16 people, mostly children.


World leaders call for de-escalation after Iran launches air attack on Israel

World leaders call for de-escalation after Iran launches air attack on Israel

Violence has also flared in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where a two-year surge in clashes has further escalated since the Gaza war broke out.

On Sunday two Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid near Hebron, and another at a northern West Bank checkpoint, the Palestinian health ministry said. The military said all three had tried to attack troops.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday that at least 14 people were killed during a 40-hour Israeli raid on Nur Shams refugee camp in the northern West Bank.

Meanwhile, Hamas’ military wing said its militants in southern Lebanon fired 20 rockets at a northern Israeli military base, the latest in cross-border exchanges of fire that have usually involved Hamas ally Hezbollah.

The Israeli army announced on Sunday the death of Major Dor Zimel, 27, one of 14 soldiers wounded in a Hezbollah strike on Wednesday on Arab al-Aramshe village in northern Israel near the Lebanese border.

It comes after almost all of the hundreds of missiles and drones that Iran launched towards the country a week ago were intercepted, according to the Israeli military, with the help of Israel’s allies.

Iran’s first direct attack on Israel was itself retaliation for a deadly April 1 strike on Tehran’s embassy consular annex in Damascus.

Israel’s response appeared to come on Friday when explosions were reported in the central Iranian province of Isfahan, though fears of a wider war eased after Iran appeared to downplay the situation.

Israeli officials have made no public comment, while Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran would not respond unless there was a further Israeli attack.

On Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the “success in recent events” of his country’s armed forces, in his first comments since the drone and missile attack on Israel.

Israel pounds Gaza as West Bank violence surges

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has warned against the development of nuclear weapons by Iran.

In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper and other media of the Axel Springer publishing group in his official residence in Jerusalem, Herzog said: “Clearly the greatest threat to stability in the world is Iran’s desire for the bomb.”

In view of this danger, he appealed to the free world to act together and “to fight if necessary”. He warned against a policy of appeasement towards Iran.

Without referring to the attack on military targets in Iran on Friday, which was attributed to Israel, Herzog assured that his country was acting “responsibly” and striving for peace and stability. In the “chess game of world politics”, it is often a matter of “acting responsibly and with restraint”.

Iran is also playing down the attack near Isfahan. According to media reports, it was a retaliatory strike in response to Iran’s massive missile and drone attack on Israel last weekend, which was preceded by a missile attack on the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus. Two Iranian generals and other employees were killed in the attack. This attack was attributed to Israel.


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