Israel launches strikes across Gaza as U.S. envoy visits region

Israel launches strikes across Gaza as U.S. envoy visits region

CAIRO, May 19  – Israel planes and tanks pounded areas across the Gaza Strip overnight, residents said, as White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan travelled to the region amid U.S. calls for a more focused military campaign.
Sullivan was due to hold talks with Israelis on Sunday and stress the need to go after Hamas militants in a targeted way, not with a full-scale assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the White House has said.
Israel has been pushing into the city that it says is the last bastion of Hamas forces. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled the area that was one of their few remaining places of refuge.
Israeli forces also pushed deeper into the narrow alleyways of Jabalia in northern Gaza, returning to an area that they said they had cleared earlier in the conflict, residents said.
The Israeli military has said its operations in Jabalia – the largest of Gaza’s eight historic refugee camps – are precise and meant to stop Hamas from reestablishing its grip there.
Israel said on Sunday two more of its soldiers were killed in a battle in southern Gaza.
At least 28 Palestinians were killed on Sunday, Gaza health officials and Hamas said, most of them in a strike on a house in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Civil Emergency Service said in a statement rescue teams have so far recovered the bodies of 150 Palestinians killed by the army in recent days, while their count showed that 300 houses had been struck by Israeli aerial and ground fire.
Gaza health officials do not distinguish between civilians and fighters in their death tolls.
The Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel that sparked the war killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. About 125 of the 253 people abducted in the raid are believed to remain in captivity in Gaza.
At least 35,386 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since Oct. 7, according to the enclave’s health ministry. Aid agencies have warned of widespread hunger and shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

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