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Israel 'moving ahead' with Rafah offensive to target Hamas

Members of the Abu Draz family inspect their house after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza
Members of the Abu Draz family inspect their house after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza Copyright Fatima Shbair/Copyright 2023, The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Fatima Shbair/Copyright 2023, The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Israel says aid has begun moving into Gaza more quickly after international pressure to increase access but the scale is disputed by the United Nations and Red Crescent.

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Israel says it is “moving ahead” with plans to launch a full-scale ground offensive on the southern Gazan city of Rafah.

Government spokesperson David Mencer said the target is four Hamas battalions reportedly based in the city, warning “they cannot be shielded from Israel.”

The Israeli government previously declared Rafah a safe zone and more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million sought shelter there.

Israel has threatened for weeks to move in on the city, plans that have drawn intense opposition from the country’s allies and human rights groups who say an offensive could cause thousands of civilian casualties.

Israel says it has plans to evacuate civilians from the city.

Palestinians inspect the ruins of a residential building for the Abu Muammar family after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024
Palestinians inspect the ruins of a residential building for the Abu Muammar family after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, March 29, 2024Hatem Ali/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

Meanwhile, Israel says aid has begun moving into Gaza more quickly after international pressure to increase access.

“Whilst implementation of some measures is ongoing, further definitive, and urgent steps are needed to set the course for a sustained flow of humanitarian and commercial goods into Gaza, in terms of volume, need and reach,” said the UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag.

“Given the scale and scope of destruction and the extent of human suffering, everyday counts.”

Israeli officials say 468 trucks entered the territory on Tuesday but those numbers have been disputed by the United Nations and the Red Crescent, with the UN saying some trucks were only half full because of inspection rules.

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