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Israel strikes Rafah. IDF announces elimination of Hamas commander

Israel strikes Rafah. IDF announces elimination of Hamas commander Photo: Israel strikes Rafah. IDF announced the elimination of a Hamas commander (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, March 13, Israeli forces struck a food distribution center in the eastern part of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Reports indicate one fatality and 22 wounded, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the Israel Defense Forces.

Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General, stated that attacks on such facilities have become a common occurrence due to blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

"Today’s attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centers in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine. Every day, we share the coordinates of all our facilities across the Gaza Strip with parties to the conflict. The Israeli Army received the coordinates including of this facility yesterday," he added.

According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, five people were killed as a result of the Israeli airstrike. UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma stated that approximately 60 individuals were likely working at the facility.

Currently, Rafah is overcrowded with approximately 1.5 million Palestinians seeking refuge from Israel's ground offensive elsewhere in Gaza. The UN Secretary-General warned that the threat of an Israeli attack on the city could "plunge the residents of Gaza into an even deeper circle of hell."

Israeli statement

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a statement stating that they killed a Hamas commander in a "precision strike": "An IDF aircraft eliminated a terrorist from the Hamas Operational Unit in the Rafah area, Muhammad Abu Hasna."

They noted that he was an operative in the military wing of Hamas, involved in controlling humanitarian aid and distributing it to Hamas terrorists.

On Tuesday, March 12, another 47 Ukrainian citizens were evacuated from the Gaza Strip. The evacuation mission was coordinated by representatives of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and diplomatic staff from Ukrainian embassies in Israel and Egypt.

Initially, the evacuated citizens were accommodated in a hotel in Egypt. On March 12, Ukrainians arrived in Moldova via a flight from Hurghada, and from there they traveled to Odesa by ground transportation.

Earlier, we reported that Hamas militants agreed to a revised US proposal for a ceasefire. Hamas representatives plan to travel to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in the coming days to discuss final details and implementation of the agreement.

The proposal from the White House calls on Hamas fighters in Gaza to release women, elderly individuals, the wounded, and hostages, and to agree to a temporary cessation of hostilities in the war with Israel, aimed at ensuring a longer period of ceasefire.

According to the proposal, Israel will release Palestinian prisoners in a ratio of 10 to one compared to the Hamas-held hostages. The agreement also includes the gradual return of Palestinians displaced from Gaza.