Israeli tanks push deeper into Rafah; battles rage in northern Gaza
CAIRO: (Reuters) Israeli tanks pushed deeper into Rafah on Tuesday, reaching some residential areas of the southern Gazan border city where more than a million people had sought shelter, and its forces pounded the enclave’s north in some of the fiercest attacks in months.

Israel’s international allies and aid groups have repeatedly warned against a ground incursion into Rafah, where many Palestinians fled and Israel says four Hamas battalions are holed up. Israel says it must root out the remaining fighters.

The White House said U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this weekend. The Biden administration declined to comment on a report by Axios that Israel agreed not to expand its Rafah operation significantly before Sullivan’s visit.

A U.S. official who declined to be identified told Reuters that Israel promised not to make a major move in Rafah without advising Washington.

Israeli spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a briefing that Israeli forces had killed about 100 militant fighters, located 10 tunnel routes and found many weapons in Rafah since the start of the operation a week ago.

Civilian casualties continue to rise as Israel steps up its assault in Gaza

Civilian casualties continue to tick up as Israel stepped up its assault in the northern and southern parts of Gaza on Monday.

Rescue crews brought in badly-wounded civilians, some of them children, to a hospital in northern Beit Lahiya.

Some of the most intense fighting for weeks is raging in both the north and south.

Israeli forces had gone back into Jabalia, where they’ve said they have dismantled Hamas months ago, to prevent militants regrouping there.

A medical worker, Fares Afana, says they’ve tried to reach the Jabalia camp.

Bodies were recovered there after overnight strikes.

But he claims Israeli forces had been targeting ambulance crews, blocking them from saving wounded and trapped civilians.

In southern Gaza’s Rafah, streets were near empty as Palestinians fled the fighting.

Israel on Monday cut across a main highway into Rafah, closing a main crossing point for aid.

The U.N. says a foreign security staff member was killed on Monday when a U.N.-marked vehicle travelling to a hospital in Rafah was struck.

This marks the first international U.N. fatality in the Gaza war.

Hamas’ armed wing says due to Israeli bombardments it lost contact with militants guarding four Israeli hostages, including U.S.-Israeli citizen Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who appeared in a Hamas video in April.

Supplies are also wearing thin for many displaced Palestinians, who’ve fled the north and south to Deir al-Balah, in the center of the Gaza strip.

“There is not enough water for all displaced people, there is not enough food, not enough markets for everyone."

“This water tank that you see, this was barely enough for those who were already here, it was already not enough but we were living with it, so what about those who joined us? There are people from two camps, in addition to our camp.”

The U.N. says around 360,000 people have fled Rafah since Israel’s evacuation order a week ago.

Many uprooted families are moving to empty tracts of land along the coast, but the U.N. warns of poor sanitary conditions there.

Starving Palestinians on one side of the border – and on the other…

Israeli protesters blocking aid trucks to Gaza on Monday.

Some Israelis were seen spilling contents of the trucks onto a road at a West Bank checkpoint – the second such incident in less than a week.

This comes even as Israel has pledged to allow uninterrupted humanitarian supplies into the besieged enclave.

Washington, which has paused some deliveries of weapons to Israel, as it disagrees with an assault on Rafah, has denounced "looting" these convoys.

Gaza health officials say the Palestinian death toll in the war has now surpassed 35,000.

The conflict began after militant group Hamas burst into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 and taking more than 250 hostages.