Israeli military raid Gaza to prepare ‘next stage’; report missile hit Egyptian resort town, injures six

Israeli military raid Gaza to prepare ‘next stage’; report missile hit Egyptian resort town, injures six
Israeli military raid Gaza to prepare ‘next stage’; report missile hit Egyptian resort town, injures six

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - An excavator clears rubble as people search for survivors and the bodies of victims through buildings that were destroyed during Israeli bombardment, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 25, 2023. — Reuters pic

DUBAI, Oct 27 — Israel said on Friday military raids into Gaza were preparing “the next stage of the operation”, amid fears that a ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave could spark a wider conflict and a media report of a missile hitting an Egyptian border town.

Egypt’s Al Qahera News, citing sources, said a missile struck a medical facility in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Taba near the Israeli border early on Friday, injuring six people.

Al Qahera said the blast was related to fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas militants. Israel’s military said it was aware of a security incident in the area.

This week, Israel said a rocket claimed by Hamas hit an area outlying Eilat, the Israeli town across the border from Taba.


A witness in Taba, which lies some 220 kms (136 miles) from Gaza, reported hearing an explosion and seeing heavy smoke and dust rising.

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the reports.

European Union leaders have urged pauses in Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket attacks so humanitarian aid could be delivered to Gaza and US President Joe Biden told Iran’s supreme leader not to target US personnel in the Mideast.


US forces have been hit more than a dozen times in Iraq and Syria in the past week by what Washington suspects are Iran-backed groups. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are all backed by Tehran.

Palestinian militants clashed with Israeli troops in at least two areas of the Gaza Strip on Friday, Hamas-affiliated media reported.

Israeli military vehicles raided the central area of Al-Bureij and troops were clashing with militants near the border there, the reports said. In the south, in a border area near the town of Rafah, Hamas militants were trading fire with Israeli troops, according to the reports.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the reports.

As the plight of Palestinian civilians grows more desperate, the issue of whether to have humanitarian pauses or ceasefire agreements in the Hamas-run coastal enclave will come before the 193-member UN General Assembly on Friday in a draft resolution submitted by Arab states calling for a ceasefire.

Unlike in the Security Council where resolutions on Gaza aid failed this week, no country holds a veto in the General Assembly. Resolutions are non-binding, but carry political weight.

Israel has bombarded the densely populated Gaza Strip following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli communities. Israel says Hamas killed some 1,400 people including children, and took more than 200 hostages, some of them infants and older adults.

EU compromise

In Brussels, the 27 leaders of the EU reached a compromise declaration after days of wrangling, expressing the “gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza”.

They called for “continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs”.

While EU leaders have strongly condemned Hamas’ attack, they have struggled to stick to the same message beyond that, with some stressing Israel’s right to self-defence and others emphasising concern about Palestinian civilians.

Separately, Mamadou Sow, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ regional delegation, said from Jeddah: “To say that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic is an understatement. Everything that is needed to sustain life is missing or dwindling by the hour in Gaza.”

The Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry said on Thursday that 7,028 Palestinians had been killed in the retaliatory air strikes, including 2,913 children. The ministry published a 212-page document with names and ID numbers of the more than 7,000 Palestinians it says were killed in Israel’s bombardment.

Reuters could not independently verify the toll.

More than 613,000 people were estimated to have been made homeless and were being sheltered by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

US sends more troops to region

Governments in the West and the Mideast are concerned about a wider regional conflict developing if Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza or mounts a ground invasion in response to the surprise attack by Hamas.

Israel and Lebanon-based Hezbollah have already exchanged fire and Israel has targeted Syrian army infrastructure and airports.

The United States has sent warships and fighter aircraft to the region over the last three weeks. On Thursday the Pentagon said about 900 more US troops have arrived in the Middle East or are heading there to bolster air defences for US personnel.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian had said at the United Nations on Thursday that if Israel’s offensive against Hamas did not stop, the United States will “not be spared from this fire”.

For Israel’s part, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, asked at a press conference about the possibility of a confrontation with Iran, said Israel has “no interest in expanding the war.” — Reuters

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