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Dhaka Tribune

Israel strikes Gaza as world court ruling due

  • The ICJ is set to rule on a South African request to halt Israel's offensive in Rafah
  • Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,800 people in Gaza
Update : 24 May 2024, 04:47 PM

Israeli forces carried out strikes on Gaza and battled fighters on the ground on Friday, as the UN's top court was due to rule on a plea to halt the military offensive.

At least five people were killed when a family home in the city's Al-Daraj neighbourhood was hit, Gaza's Civil Defence agency and an emergency doctor at Al-Ahli hospital said.

In northern Gaza's Jabalia area, where urban combat has flared again months after the start of Israeli operations there, the military said the bodies of three hostages had been retrieved in an operation during the night.

The military said the bodies of Israeli hostage Chanan Yablonka, Brazilian-Israeli Michel Nisenbaum and French-Mexican Orion Hernandez Radoux had been "rescued" and their families had been notified after forensic identification.

The military reported targeted raids in Jabalia and ongoing activity in central Gaza, and said "troops eliminated dozens of terrorists" in the north.

A Palestinian security source told AFP there were clashes between Israeli forces and fighters in the town of Jabalia and its refugee camp, with another source at Kamal Adwan hospital saying it was "out of service, and has 14 medical staff trapped inside."

Since October 7, Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,800 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

ICJ ruling on ceasefire

Along with Al-Awda, Kamal Adwan is one the last two functioning hospitals north of Gaza City, both of which are besieged, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Other facilities across Gaza are suffering severe shortages of medical supplies and fuel to power generators, according to UN and Palestinian officials.

Israel in early May launched an assault on Rafah, the last Gazan city to be entered by its ground troops, defying global opposition and sending more than 800,000 people fleeing, according to UN figures.

Troops took over the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, further slowing the sporadic arrival of trucks carrying badly needed aid for Gaza's 2.4 million people.

In a statement Friday, the Israeli army said its "troops are continuing operations against terror targets" in the southern city, where they had "destroyed weapon storage facilities" and tunnel shafts.

A local Palestinian source said military vehicles were advancing from eastern Rafah towards the city centre.

As the hostilities continued, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to rule on Friday on a plea to halt the Israeli military offensive in Gaza over accusations of "genocide."

The ICJ, whose orders are legally binding but lack direct enforcement mechanisms, stopped short of ordering a ceasefire in an interim ruling in January but instructed Israel to do everything possible to prevent genocidal acts.

South Africa, which filed the case later formally supported by Israel-Hamas mediator Egypt, argued the ongoing Israeli operation in Rafah should compel the UN court to issue fresh emergency orders.

The case, which Israel says should be dismissed, could add to mounting international pressure for a truce and hostage release more than seven months into the war.

Meanwhile, arrest warrants related to the war are pending at the International Criminal Court, and three European countries said they would formally recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday.

Israel's top diplomat on Friday singled out remarks by the Spanish government's number three Yolanda Diaz, who had vowed to push for freedom "from the river to the sea" -- a slogan critics view a call for the elimination of Israel.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a post on X he had decided to "prohibit the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians from the West Bank", a territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

It was not immediately clear how Israel would carry out the threat, and the foreign ministry did not immediately respond to AFP's request for comment.

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