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Israel expands air and ground offensive in central Gaza

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All the latest developments on Israel’s Hamas war.

Deadly missile attack on Rafah

ANNOUNCEMENT

At least 23 people were killed on Thursday when a missile hit a residential building in Rafah, southern Gaza.

The dead and injured were taken to the Kuwaiti hospital located less than 200 meters from the explosion.

More than 21,300 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and airstrikes since the war with Hamas broke out, Gaza’s Health Ministry says.

The Israeli army said Thursday that more than 500 Israeli soldiers, officers and reservists have been killed since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people in the country’s south.

A Hamas official said Thursday that a “partial or temporary cessation of aggression” would not be enough to free more than 100 hostages who Israel says remain captive in Gaza.

Pressure builds on Israeli hostage situation

Hundreds of young people began marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Sunday to pressure the government to secure the release of more than 100 remaining hostages.

The Israeli army on Thursday took full responsibility for the three hostages killed by Israeli troops.

This comes after the IDF released the final results of an investigation into the mistaken killing of hostages on December 15 in Gaza City.

“We are responsible for what happened. We presented the investigation and all the results at our disposal to the families. In a transparent way, fighting for the truth, even if it is very difficult and painful,” said IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari.

The Israeli army said it mistook their cries for help with a ploy by Hamas militants to lure them into an ambush.

The three hostages were among 240 people taken hostage during the deadly Hamas attack on October 7.

The Israeli offensive extends to central Gaza

Israeli forces bombed cities, towns and refugee camps across Gaza on Thursday, killing dozens of people in a widening air and ground offensive against Hamas that has forced thousands more to flee homes and shelters in recent days.

Around 85% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people have now fled their homes.

An Israeli airstrike on a house in the northern city of Beit Lahiyeh buried at least 21 people, according to a witness.

In central Gaza, Israeli warplanes and artillery bombed Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps, razing buildings, residents said.

Israel said this week it would expand its ground offensive in central Gaza. It usually launches waves of airstrikes and bombing raids before troops and tanks move in.

A hospital in the nearby town of Deir al-Balah received the bodies of 25 people killed overnight, including five children and seven women, according to hospital records on Thursday.

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