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Israeli forces escalate attacks on Rafah and the Nuseirat refugee camp

ISRAELI forces escalated their attacks on the southern city of Rafah in Gaza today and launched a deadly ground operation into the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, killing at least five Palestinians.

At least seven people have been reported killed in the latest Israeli raid on Nuseirat.

Reporting for Al Jazeera Hani Mahmoud said people were “trapped under heavy bombardment. 

“This has caused a great deal of panic and people are starting to move out of Nuseirat camp and other parts of the central area.”

He added: “The situation is getting more difficult by the hour.”

The Gaza Health Ministry said the latest wave of Israeli attacks had killed 63 people and wounded 45 more over a 24-hour period, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza since Hamas’s October 7 attack to 33,545, with 76,094 injured.

Israel began its deadly retaliation after 1,200 people were killed during the October attack and around 250 taken hostage.

On Wednesday Israeli aircraft killed three sons and four grandchildren of Hamas’s top political leader in the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh’s sons are amongst the highest-profile figures to be killed in the war so far. Israel accused them of being Hamas operatives, but Mr Haniyeh accused Israel of acting in “the spirit of revenge and murder.”

“Anyone who believes that targeting my sons will push Hamas to change its position is delusional,” he added.

Meanwhile, fears are growing that the conflict could spread across the region.

US President Joe Biden has promised Israel “ironclad” US support amid fears that Tehran could launch reprisals for an attack on Iran’s Damascus consulate on April 1.

The attack killed 13 people, including senior Iranian military leaders. Amongst them was Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pointed out that an attack on Iranian diplomatic premises is an attack on Iranian territory under international law, and Mr Biden claims that Iran is threatening to launch a “significant attack” in response.

“We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security,” he added.

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