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Israeli airstrike kills 9 Palestinians in Gaza's Rafah

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-12 03:19

Palestinian children look on from a window during Eid al-Fitr, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Gaza City on April 11. [Photo/Agencies]

GAZA -- At least nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the southernmost Gaza city of Rafah, eyewitnesses and medical sources said Thursday.

An Israeli drone targeted a gathering of Palestinians near a cemetery east of Rafah with a missile, killing six people, local sources told Xinhua, adding the bodies were transferred to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in the city, with some of them being dismembered.

In addition, three Palestinians were killed, and several others were injured in an Israeli raid in the al-Jneina neighborhood east of Rafah, according to the sources. The casualties were transferred to the same hospital, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich told Israeli media that the Israeli army continues to target the infrastructure of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

The army is preparing to expand its operations to include Rafah, Deir al-Balah, and other cities in the central Gaza Strip, he said, noting the operations will be similar to Wednesday's raid in Nuseirat, with the aim of eliminating "terrorism" and disarming Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces have conducted intensive bombardments in the vicinity of the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza since Wednesday night, resulting in casualties.

This came as the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, announced that its members shot down an Israeli "quadcopter" aircraft and seized it while it was carrying out reconnaissance missions in the central Gaza Strip airspace.

Israeli army spokesperson Avichay Adraee confirmed in a statement on the X platform that the 162nd Brigade had launched a surprise military campaign in the central Gaza Strip since Wednesday night.

Israel has been launching a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on Oct 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage.

The war has killed at least 33,482 Palestinians and wounded 76,049 others since its outbreak, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

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