Home World Rafah residents report escalated fighting

Rafah residents report escalated fighting

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By The Associated Press

Israel’s foreign minister accused Spain of “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes” as the European nation together with Norway and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state on Tuesday.

The diplomatic move has no immediate impact on the war in Gaza, but adds to international pressure on Israel to soften its devastating response to October’s Hamas-led attack.

Israeli strikes on Rafah overnight killed at least 16 Palestinians, first responders said Tuesday, as residents reported an escalation of fighting in the southern Gaza city.

Over the weekend, an Israeli airstrike hit a tent camp in a western part of Rafah, causing a large fire and killing at least 45 people, according to health officials. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged a “tragic mishap” had occurred. The strike only added to the surging international criticism Israel has faced over its war with Hamas, with even its closest allies expressing outrage at civilian deaths. Israel insists it adheres to international law even as it faces scrutiny in the world’s top courts, one of which last week demanded that it halt the offensive in Rafah.

In the past two weeks, more than a million Palestinians fled Rafah as Israeli forces pressed deeper into the city. People displaced by fighting lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the U.N. says. Israel says it needs to invade Rafah to destroy Hamas militants’ last stronghold.

Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Currently:

Israeli strikes kill 16 in Rafah, medics say, as residents report heavy fighting.

— Netanyahu says deadly Israeli strike in Rafah over the weekend was the result of a “tragic mishap.”

— As Israel attacks Rafah, Palestinians are living in tents and scrounging for food.

— Spain’s prime minister says its Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state as the EU rift with Israel widens.

— An Israeli strike in southern Lebanon kills 2 people near a hospital, officials say.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

ISRAELI STRIKES ON RAFAH KILL AT LEAST 16 PALESTINIANS, FIRST RESPONDERS SAY

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli strikes on Rafah have killed at least 16 Palestinians overnight, first responders said Tuesday, as residents reported an escalation of fighting in the southern Gaza city.

An Israeli incursion launched earlier this month has caused nearly 1 million to flee from Rafah, most of whom have already been displaced in the war between Israel and Hamas, and who are now seeking refuge in squalid tent camps and war-ravaged areas.

The latest strikes occurred in the same area where Israel targeted what it said was a Hamas compound on Sunday night. That strike ignited a fire in a camp for displaced Palestinians and killed at least 45 people, according to local health officials, sparking worldwide outrage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was a “tragic mishap” on Sunday and the military said it was investigating.

The latest strikes killed a total of 16 people in the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood in northwest Rafah, according to the Palestinian Civil Defense and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

NORWAY FORMALLY RECOGNIZES A PALESTINIAN STATE

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway on Tuesday formally recognized a Palestinian state with the Scandinavian foreign minister calling it “a milestone in the relationship between Norway and Palestine.”

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said “the recognition is a strong expression of support for moderate forces in both countries.”

However, “it is regrettable that the Israeli government shows no signs of engaging constructively,” Barth Eide said. “The international community must increase its political and economic support for Palestine and continue the work for a two-state solution.”

Last week, Norway, along with Spain and Ireland, said in a coordinated effort that they were recognizing a Palestinian state.

SPAIN WILL BEGIN RECOGNIZING A PALESTINIAN STATE

MADRID — Spain moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland and Norway to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. Israel slammed the diplomatic move that will have no immediate impact on its grinding war in Gaza but adds to international pressure to soften its devastating response to October’s Hamas-led attack.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Spain of “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes” and told the country that its consulate in Jerusalem will not be allowed to help Palestinians.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who announced his country’s decision before parliament last week, has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for recognition and a cease-fire in Gaza.

Relations between the EU and Israel nosedived Monday, the eve of the diplomatic recognition EU members Ireland and Spain, with Madrid insisting that sanctions should be considered against Israel for its continued deadly attacks in southern Gaza’s city of Rafah.

IRANIAN PARLIAMENT REELECTS HARD-LINER QALIBAF AS ITS SPEAKER

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s parliament reelected hard-liner Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf on Tuesday as its speaker, reaffirming its hard-right makeup in the wake of a helicopter crash that killed the country’s president and foreign minister.

Of 287 lawmakers voting Tuesday, 198 backed Qalibaf to retain the position he first took in 2021. He initially became speaker following a string of failed presidential bids and 12 years as the leader of Iran’s capital city. Many, however, know Qalibaf for his support as a Revolutionary Guard general for a violent crackdown on Iranian university students in 1999. He also reportedly ordered live gunfire to be used against Iranian students in 2003 while serving as the country’s police chief.



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