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Israeli strikes on Rafah kill 19 Palestinians, including children

This picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on January 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

At least 19 Palestinians, including small children, have been killed in the latest Israeli airstrikes on the southern city of Rafah, as the regime continues its brutal war against the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to local sources and video footage verified by Al Jazeera, the civilians were killed after Israeli warplanes targeted a house east of Rafah on Wednesday.

Earlier, footage showed the bodies of three children killed in the Israeli attack arriving at Abu Youssef Al Najjar Hospital in the city.

Rafah has been packed with tens of thousands of displaced civilians.

Israeli airstrikes have been pounding locations across Gaza, including southern parts that Israel had declared as safe zones.

Homes, hospitals, cemetery targeted

Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the occupying regime’s artillery has targeted residential buildings, a cemetery and hospitals in Khan Yunis over the past two days, as the southern Gaza Strip is reeling under heavy Israeli bombardment.

“Initial reports and video footage show that much of the al-Namsawi cemetery was destroyed and graves empty with some corpses reportedly missing,” the OCHA said.

It went on to say that an Israeli missile had reportedly struck the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) health clinic in the Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, but noted that “further details on the impact of the projectile are yet to be established.”

The report comes as an ongoing telecommunications blackout has limited the latest update from OCHA, with information from northern Gaza even further limited by highly restricted access.

Fierce fighting in Khan Yunis

Separately on Wednesday, Israeli troops and members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas engaged in the most intense fighting so far in Khan Yunis, two US-based think tanks reported, as resistance groups in Palestine continue their operations against Israel amid the regime's genocidal war on Gaza.

The Critical Threats Project (CTP) and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also reported that a senior Hamas official has called for Palestinian fighters from other resistance groups to escalate their attacks on Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

The monitors also said Gaza is experiencing its longest and most widespread internet blackout since Israel’s war on the enclave started in early October.

The Israeli regime waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

Since the start of the aggression, Israel has killed more than 24,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

The Tel Aviv regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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