People walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas.

People walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Israeli troops fought Hamas militants in multiple battles across the Gaza Strip, forcing new waves of Palestinian mass displacement, as Israel marked a sombre Independence Day on Tuesday.

Clashes have rocked the densely crowded far-southern city of Rafah but also flared again in northern and central Gaza, months after troops and tanks first entered those areas.

The United States has repeatedly urged a Gaza ceasefire and called on its ally Israel to devise “a strategic endgame” and post-war plan, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.

This would help Israel avoid “getting mired in a counterinsurgency campaign that never ends and ultimately saps Israel’s strength and vitality,” Mr. Sullivan told a briefing in Washington on Monday.

Recent battles and heavy Israeli bombardments have been reported around Rafah as well as in Gaza City and Jabalia refugee camp in the north and Nuseirat camp in the centre.

More than seven months into the war, Israeli strikes and ground combat have claimed another 82 lives in Gaza over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory said.

Nearly 4,50,000 Palestinians have been newly displaced from Rafah in recent days, and around 1,00,000 from northern Gaza, said UN agencies which warn that “no place is safe” in the territory.

Talks stalled

Talks toward a truce and hostage release deal have stalled after months of efforts involving U.S., Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said “unfortunately things didn’t move in the right direction and right now we are on a status of almost a stalemate”.

“Of course, what happened with Rafah has set us backwards,” he added.

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