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Gaza war: Fighting continues amidst Israel's “tactical pauses”

Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, on June 5, 2024.   -  
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Tsafrir Abayov/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Israel's military (IDF) released footage on Tuesday(Jun. 18) showing soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip as the monthslong war continues.

Citing the IDF, local media reported that operations were ongoing in the Rafah area, and in the centre of the enclave.

Israel said Sunday (Jun. 16) that it would observe “tactical pauses” along the road to allow deliveries from Kerem Shalom, a main aid crossing for the south to the city of Khan Younis which is hosting thousands of displaced civilians.

The army said that the daily pause would begin at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and last until 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) and continue until further notice. It's aimed at allowing aid trucks to reach the nearby Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, the main entry point, and travel safely to the Salah a-Din highway, a main north-south road, the military said. The crossing has had a bottleneck since Israeli ground troops moved into Rafah in early May.

COGAT, the Israeli military body that oversees aid distribution in Gaza, said the route would increase the flow of aid to other parts of Gaza, including Khan Younis, the coastal area of Muwasi and central Gaza. Hard-hit northern Gaza, an early target in the war, is served by goods entering from the north.

A U.N. spokesperson said that Israel's announcement was welcome but “no aid had been dispatched from Kerem Shalom".

An Associated Press reporter stationed on the route saw about eight trucks traveling down the road Monday, although it was unclear who they belonged to. Before the Rafah operation, the number of trucks entering the strip’s south stood in the hundreds.

International humanitarian officials have repeatedly said deliveries are impeded by Israeli inspections, ongoing fighting, and desperate residents taking cargo off aid trucks.

Isral's war in Gaza has wiped out entire Palestinian families and induced a deadly humanitarian crisis.

The military said that the pause, which begins as Muslims start marking the Eid Al-Adha holiday, came after discussions with the United Nations and other aid agencies.

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