35,000 Lives Lost: Gaza’s Death Toll Rises Amid Israeli Invasion

In a significant escalation of the ongoing conflict, Israeli forces have launched a two-pronged invasion into the northern and southern regions of Gaza. The military operation, which began on Monday, has seen Israeli forces push deep into the ruins of Gaza’s northern edge to recapture an area from Hamas resistance fighters. Simultaneously, tanks and troops have advanced across a highway into Rafah in the south.

The operations have resulted in a humanitarian crisis, with Palestinian civilians scrambling to find safety from Israeli shells and bullets. The situation is particularly dire in Rafah, which borders Egypt. Israeli operations have closed a main crossing point for aid, exacerbating an already critical situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing again, many of whom had taken sanctuary in Rafah after Israel ordered forced evacuations from northern Gaza in October.

Gaza’s health authority has made an urgent appeal for international pressure to reopen access via the southern border. The closure has prevented the delivery of aid, medical supplies, and fuel needed to power generators and ambulances. The health authority stated, "The wounded and sick suffer a slow death because there is no treatment and supplies and they cannot travel".

In a tragic development, a foreign UN security staff member was killed on Monday when a UN-marked vehicle traveling to a hospital in Rafah was struck. This marks the first international UN fatality in the Gaza war. The total death toll of UN personnel now stands at around 190.

In northern Gaza’s Jabalia, a sprawling refugee camp built for displaced Palestinians 75 years ago, Israeli forces pushed into an area where they claimed to have dismantled Hamas months ago. Residents fled along rubble-strewn streets carrying bags of belongings. Tank shells landed in the center of the camp, and health officials reported recovering 20 bodies from overnight airstrikes.

An Israeli air strike on a house in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip killed at least eight people. Several other people were reported wounded and missing. The Palestinian death toll in the war has now surpassed 35,000, with 57 killed in the past 24 hours, according to Gaza health officials.

Israeli troops are seeking to wipe out Hamas. However, a senior US State Department official on Monday said Washington did not think that the goal of total victory was "likely or possible". Hamas’ armed wing said because of Israeli bombardments it had lost contact with fighters guarding four Israeli captives, including US-Israeli citizen Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who appeared in a video released by Hamas in late April.

The situation in Rafah remains dire, with residents reporting intensified aerial and ground bombardments. The Israeli assault has led to one of the most significant rifts in decades between Israel and its primary ally, the United States. President Joe Biden, who is seeking reelection, has faced criticism from within his party for his administration’s support of Israel.

As the conflict rages on, the international community watches with growing concern, hoping for a resolution that will bring peace to the region and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

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