Israeli army steps up attacks in Gaza as top US official visits Israel | Israel’s war against Gaza News

The Israeli military has stepped up attacks across Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the central part of the besieged enclave, as US national security adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to Israel for talks with senior officials.

Sullivan was expected to press Israeli leaders on Sunday to take a more targeted approach to the country’s offensive in Gaza and avoid a larger-scale assault on the southern city of Rafah.

He met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and was also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vowed to press ahead with the Rafah offensive despite warnings from the United States.

Nearly 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah since Israel launched an attack on the city last week, according to the United Nations, drawing condemnation from U.N. officials and human rights groups.

The Israeli government maintains that a military operation there is necessary to destroy the last stronghold of the Palestinian group Hamas.

The Israeli military has stepped up air and ground strikes across the Palestinian territory, with airstrikes killing at least 31 people on Sunday in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from the scene of the attack, said a residential house was destroyed while surrounding buildings “suffered extensive damage” and were left uninhabitable.

The building, Mahmoud said, housed five families who had first fled violence in northern Gaza and then were forced to evacuate from Rafah after Israel expanded its military operations there.

“They fled to Nuseirat only to be killed,” he said.

Israeli forces also advanced deeper into the narrow alleys of Jabalia in northern Gaza overnight and into Sunday, returning to an area they said they had cleared earlier in the conflict, residents said.

The Gaza Civil Emergency Service said in a statement that rescue teams have so far recovered the bodies of 150 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in recent days, and that 300 houses had been hit by Israeli air and ground fire.

‘Open those crossings’

Sullivan’s trip to Israel – the last by a senior US official since the war broke out in early October – comes as President Joe Biden has faced widespread criticism domestically for his unwavering support for Israel amid the war. Loop.

Despite saying it does not agree with a large-scale operation in Rafah, the Biden administration has continued to provide Israel with military and diplomatic support. Last week, Washington announced plans to provide an additional $1 billion in military aid to the United States’ main ally.

Israel already receives at least $3.8 billion in US military assistance annually, and human rights advocates have urged the Biden administration to curb its support as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise.

To date, more than 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli attacks.

The humanitarian situation in the territory has also worsened since Israel seized and closed the Rafah land crossing with Egypt earlier this month.

Desperate Palestinians were filmed boarding aid trucks carrying supplies being delivered via a newly built floating dock in the United States.

The dock has been criticized as a complicated and expensive alternative to what humanitarian groups say is a more appropriate and much simpler solution: for Israel to open land crossings into Gaza to allow aid trucks to deliver supplies.

“The message from all humanitarian agencies is ‘Open those crossings’; It’s that simple,” UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths told Al Jazeera in an interview on Sunday.

“We are stuck in the south in terms of our operations because we have no fuel and the trucks don’t get through because the crossings are blocked, so we have very little to offer the people of Gaza,” Griffiths said.

Pressure on Netanyahu

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has vowed to continue fighting Hamas until the group’s military capacity is destroyed.

But the Israeli prime minister has failed to present a post-war plan for Gaza or bring home the more than 100 captives still held in the enclave, and he faces increased political pressure inside Israel.

On Saturday, as tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in cities across the country, War Cabinet member and former Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened to resign from the government if Netanyahu failed to present a clear six-point vision once he end the conflict.

Gantz’s warning marked one of the strongest public displays of a growing rift within the war cabinet.

It also came just days after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel should not participate in governing Gaza once the fighting ends, a statement that contrasted with Netanyahu’s earlier comments about the need to maintain Israeli control over the territory.

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