May 23, 2024

Israeli fighter jets and artillery hit central Gaza on Thursday, the army said, as efforts to reach a new deal between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group continue.

Israeli Air Force (IAF) “fighter jets struck armed terrorists, terrorist infrastructure, and operational tunnel shafts,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Telegram. “The IDF continues to operate in the central Gaza Strip,” it added.

The IDF said it launched its attack after “a number of launches” on Wednesday from central Gaza against Israeli forces. A mortar shell launcher was destroyed and several armed fighters were killed, the army said. It reported no Israeli injuries.

Meanwhile Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant discussed “operational developments” in northern and southern Israel in a phone call with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, a Gallant spokeswoman said. They also discussed efforts to release further hostages held by Hamas.

Austin also provided information about preparations for future Gaza operations. Israel has announced that it will go ahead with a controversial military operation in the city of Rafah in the south of the coastal strip if there is no early agreement on a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages in return for Palestinian prisoners.

In addition, humanitarian aid for the suffering population in Gaza and the opening of further crossings were also on the agenda. Aid deliveries have recently increased significantly, but the US is demanding a further increase.

Palestinians return to their destroyed homes after the Israeli army withdrew from the Austrian neighbourhood during the violent battles between Israel and Hamas. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpaPalestinians return to their destroyed homes after the Israeli army withdrew from the Austrian neighbourhood during the violent battles between Israel and Hamas. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

Palestinians return to their destroyed homes after the Israeli army withdrew from the Austrian neighbourhood during the violent battles between Israel and Hamas. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

A Palestinian boy searches inside a destroyed home as he returns after the Israeli army withdrew from the Austrian neighbourhood during the violent battles between Israel and Hamas. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpaA Palestinian boy searches inside a destroyed home as he returns after the Israeli army withdrew from the Austrian neighbourhood during the violent battles between Israel and Hamas. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

A Palestinian boy searches inside a destroyed home as he returns after the Israeli army withdrew from the Austrian neighbourhood during the violent battles between Israel and Hamas. Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa

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