Israel-Gaza war: Israeli tanks stop in center of Rafah, witnesses say, fresh attack kills 21

According to witnesses, Israeli tanks are stationed in the center of Rafah. After bombing a refugee camp in a humanitarian zone, Israel has continued its attacks on the town in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel stepped up attacks on Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday despite international condemnation of Sunday’s shelling of a displaced persons camp, just as three European countries formally recognized a Palestinian state.

A fresh attack by Israel on a camp in Rafah has left 21 people dead, civil defense said.

According to the militant group Hamas, quoted by Dutch news agency ANP, 16 Palestinians died in attacks on Rafah overnight from Monday to Tuesday.

Witnesses report Israeli tanks

Two witnesses told AFP they saw Israeli tanks in the center of the town of Rafah on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, where shelling and intense fighting have taken place in recent weeks.

Israeli tanks “Stopped at Al-Awda roundabout in the center of Rafah city”, a witness told AFP. A Rafah security source also confirmed the presence of Israeli tanks in the center of the city.

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A decision officially expected on Tuesday from Spain, Norway and Ireland to recognize a Palestinian state has sparked anger at Israel, calling it a “gift” to Hamas amid its war against the Palestinians, who have ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Israel’s head of diplomacy, Israel Katz, accused Spain of “complicity in calls for the genocide of the Jewish people.”

The health ministry in Gaza said 45 people were killed and 249 injured in a strike in Rafah on Sunday evening, and the U.N. set fire to tents occupied by Palestinians in a displaced persons camp. The Security Council should convene urgently.

AFP reporters and witnesses in Rafah on Tuesday witnessed airstrikes and artillery fire in the center and west of the city along the Egyptian border, at the southern edge of the besieged territory, where Israeli soldiers began a ground operation in early May.

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