Israeli Airstrikes in Southern Gaza’s Rafah Claim 13 Lives, Primarily Children, Amid US Progress on Aid Package

Israel Strikes Gaza’s Rafah, Killing 13, Including Nine Children, Amid US Aid Approval

Health officials reported that Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight resulted in the deaths of 13 individuals, including nine children, on Sunday. This occurred as the United States moved forward with approving billions of dollars in additional military aid to its close ally.

Israel has been conducting near-daily air raids on Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have sought refuge from conflict elsewhere. Despite international calls for restraint, including from the US, Israel has pledged to expand its ground offensive into the city bordering Egypt.

The House of Representatives passed a $26 billion aid package on Saturday, which includes approximately $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza.

The initial strike claimed the lives of a man, his wife, and their 3-year-old child, according to the nearby Kuwaiti Hospital, where the bodies were received. The woman, who was pregnant, was saved, with doctors managing to rescue the baby.

In a subsequent strike, eight children and two women from the same family were killed, according to hospital records. Another airstrike in Rafah the previous night resulted in the deaths of nine people, including six children.

The Israel-Hamas conflict has led to the deaths of over 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, and has caused extensive damage to Gaza’s major cities, leaving much of the territory in ruins. Approximately 80% of the population has been displaced to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave, with experts warning of an imminent famine.

The ongoing conflict, now in its seventh month, has triggered regional tensions, pitting Israel and the US against Iran and its allies across the Middle East. Earlier this month, Israel and Iran engaged in direct hostilities, raising concerns of a full-scale war between the long-standing adversaries.

Tensions have also escalated in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the Israeli military reported the “neutralization” of two Palestinians who attacked a checkpoint near the town of Hebron early Sunday with a knife and a gun. It remains unclear if they were killed, and no Israeli forces were injured.

Since the Gaza war began, at least 469 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Most of these casualties occurred during Israeli military arrest operations or violent protests.

The conflict has resulted in the deaths of at least 34,049 Palestinians and the injury of another 76,901, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. However, the actual toll is likely higher, as many bodies remain trapped beneath the rubble or in inaccessible areas.

Israel attributes civilian casualties to Hamas, citing the group’s practice of fighting in densely populated residential areas. However, the military seldom comments on specific strikes, which often result in the deaths of women and children. While the military claims to have killed over 13,000 Hamas fighters, it has not provided evidence to support this assertion.

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