*** ----> Gaza endures more deadly strikes as Israel expands evacuation order | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Gaza endures more deadly strikes as Israel expands evacuation order

AFP | Rafah   

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Israeli strikes yesterday hit parts of Gaza including Rafah where Israel expanded an evacuation order and the UN warned of an “epic” disaster if an outright invasion of the crowded city goes ahead.

AFP journalists, medics and witnesses reported strikes across the coastal territory, where the UN says humanitarian relief is blocked after Israeli troops defied international opposition and entered eastern Rafah this week, effectively shutting a key aid crossing and suspending traffic through another.

At least 21 people were killed during strikes in central Gaza and taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah city, a hospital statement said.

Bodies covered in white lay on the ground in a courtyard of the facility. A man in a baseball cap leaned over one body bag, clasping a dust-covered hand that protruded.

The feet of another corpse poked from under a blanket bearing the picture of a large teddy bear. In Rafah, witnesses reported intense air strikes near the crossing with Egypt, and AFP images showed smoke rising over the city.

Other strikes occurred in north Gaza, witnesses said. Hamas yesterday accused Israel of “expanding the incursion into Rafah to include new areas in the centre and the west of the city”.

Israeli troops on Tuesday seized and closed the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing - through which all fuel passes into Gaza - after ordering residents of eastern Rafah to evacuate.

‘Operational activity’ The army said yesterday troops were engaged in “operational activity” at the crossing, where they fought against Hamas fighters and found “numerous underground tunnel shafts”.

While mediation efforts towards a truce and hostage release appeared to stall, Hamas’s armed wing released a video of a captive seen alive in Gaza - the third such footage released in less than a month.

The new evacuation order for eastern Rafah, posted on X by military spokesman Avichay Adraee, said the designated areas had “witnessed Hamas activities in recent days and weeks”.