Dozens of Palestinians killed in strikes on central and southern Gaza

Three children are among the dead in attacks on Khan Younis, as death toll mounts across enclave

Palestinians survey the damage after an Israeli strike on Nuseirat, in central Gaza. AFP
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Israeli air strikes and shelling killed dozens of Palestinians across Gaza on Monday morning, with at least 24 people confirmed dead, according to official Palestinian media.

Twelve people were killed and dozens were injured when Israel bombed Khan Younis and Rafah in southern Gaza, hours after 10 people were killed in attacks on refugee camps in the centre of the enclave.

Ten people were killed, including three children, in Israeli strikes on two homes in Al Rumaydah district of Khan Younis, the Wafa news agency reported. Two people were killed in a home in another area, it added.

Bombing was also reported near the European Hospital in the city.

In Rafah, deadly air strikes hit the northern and western parts of the city, Wafa reported, when two people were killed in the western Saudi neighbourhood.

Heavy shelling was reported on the Rafah coast, in addition to the northern Oraiba neighbourhood and the southern area of Al Brazil.

Ten people were killed in strikes across Gaza city, when tanks shelled UNRWA schools where displaced civilians were sheltering.

The Monday attacks came hours after 10 people, including a baby, were killed in overnight attacks on the Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps in central Gaza.

More than 36,400 people have been killed and more than 82,600 have been injured across Gaza since the war began in October, the enclave's health authorities said. The conflict began when Hamas led an attack on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people, with 240 taken hostage.

The true death toll in Gaza is believed to be higher, with thousands still missing. The majority of those killed are women and children, Palestinian health authorities added.

The relentless air campaign has also severely destroyed a large part of the Gaza Strip's infrastructure.

Fifty-five per cent of buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged since the war began in October, the UN's satellite centre said on Monday, with the worst affected areas being Gaza city and Khan Younis.

At least 36,591 structures are completely destroyed, according to analysis of satellite imagery.

In addition, another 16,513 were said to be severely damaged, 47,368 moderately damaged and 36,825 possibly damaged.

Starving to death

On Monday, Gaza's government media office warned more than 3,500 children are at risk of starving to death as aid crossings into Gaza remain closed.

It said the children have been put at risk "due to the Israeli occupation’s policies of starving children, lack of milk and food, lack of nutritional supplements, depriving them of vaccinations, and preventing the entry of humanitarian aid for the fourth week in a row amid a terrible international silence."

Thousands of children are suffering from advanced malnutrition and are unable to receive vaccinations, it added, and said Gaza's children are also in need of advanced psychological treatment.

Some 15,438 have been killed and 17,000 have been orphaned since the war began, it added.

While fighting continues, the US, Qatar, and Egypt have urged Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire proposal outlined by President Joe Biden on Friday.

The three-phase Israeli proposal would involve an initial six-week ceasefire, an Israeli withdrawal from “populated” areas of Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages in the enclave in exchange for Palestinian detainees held in Israel.

It would be followed by the release of more hostages and a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The third phase of the deal is to involve the reconstruction of the enclave and the release of the remains of other hostages.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's priority is "destroying Hamas" alongside recovering hostages taken by the group on October 7.

In a video statement on Monday, Mr Netanyahu said the plan was not a result of internal pressure from within his government.

"It is something we agreed on unanimously in the war cabinet," he said.

"The war will be stopped to return hostages, then other discussions will follow."

Israeli cabinet minister Benny Gantz said he asked the US to put pressure on negotiators to accept the ceasefire proposal.

Mr Gantz spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the deal on Sunday night, he wrote on X.

Israel “is committed to returning the hostages and views it not only as a superior moral responsibility, but a priority on the war’s timeline”.

“I reiterated to the secretary the imperative of American pressure on the negotiators to ensure the implementation of the arrangement proposed by Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to end the war until it has met its goal of “eradicating” Hamas.

Updated: June 03, 2024, 1:44 PM