War on Gaza: Israel sends additional brigade to Rafah as government mulls widening assault

Meanwhile, five Israeli soldiers killed in Jabalia friendly-fire and series of strikes target Lebanon’s northeastern Baalbek

MEE staff

Smoke rises from an explosion following an Israeli strike on southern Gaza on 15 May 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)
Smoke rises from an explosion following an Israeli strike on southern Gaza on 15 May 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)

The Israeli army announced it was sending an additional brigade to Rafah, as the government is expected to approve a widening assault on southern Gaza, an area that once housed over a 1.5 million displaced Palestinians.

At least 600,000 Palestinians have already fled the southern city to other areas in the south and centre of the strip since Israel intensified its military operations last week.

Israel’s incursion into Rafah was met with widespread condemnations and expressions of concern over Palestinian civilians.

The International Court of Justice is expected to hold hearings on South Africa’s request for more provisional measures in its genocide case against Israel due to the current operations.

Over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel’s war on Gaza to date, according to the enclave’s health ministry.

Israeli soldiers killed in friendly fire

Israel’s military said that five Israeli soldiers were killed and at least seven were injured by an Israeli tank in what seemed to be a friendly-fire incident in northern Gaza.

An initial probe by the military said that a tank operating alongside paratroopers in Jabalia refugee camp fired two shells at a building where the soldiers were gathered.

The Israeli army adds that two groups of paratroopers were in the area, one with the tank forces and another that arrive hours later, notifying two of the tanks.

The tank forces, identifying a gun barrel from one of the buildings, reportedly believed they were Palestinian fighters and fired two tank shells.

Israel launches air raid on north-eastern Lebanon

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Israel fired an intense series of air strikes near Baalbek, north-eastern Lebanon, in what seems to be the strongest attack on the area since the beginning of the war in Gaza.

Israel’s army radio said that the military conducted around 15 attacks on the area, with the bombings being heard in several areas of northern Lebanon.

Israeli military assessments say the strikes with a Hezbollah weapons manufacturing plant, with no confirmation yet.

The strikes come hours after Hezbollah launched a drone attack on military bases in northern Israel. The Israeli army said one of the explosive-laden drones hit a sensitive military facility near the Golani Junction in the Lower Galilee.

Hezbollah’s attack is itself a retaliation for the assassination of Hussein Makki, whom Israel claims was a top field commander for the group.

Three Palestinians killed in West Bank raid

Three Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during a raid on Tulkarem in the West Bank, the Wafa news agency reports.

The agency says that a large military force entered the city from several areas and were firing at “anything that moves” in the streets.

Israeli forces reportedly stormed several money exchange shops in the city, vandalised and stole from some of them, and arrested at least one of the shop owners.

Several raids were also reported in other cities in the West Bank, with Israeli forces distributing leaflets to money exchange shops accusing them of financing “terrorism”.

Israel sends additional brigade to Rafah as government mulls widening assault

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