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The latest | More than half a million people are fleeing fighting in Rafah and northern Gaza, the UN says

More than half a million Palestinians have been displaced in recent days by escalating Israeli military operations in southern and northern Gaza, the United Nations says.

About 450,000 Palestinians have been expelled from Rafah in southern Gaza over the past week, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday. There were about 1.3 million people sheltering in Rafah before Israel began pushing into the city, which Israel says is Hamas’s last stronghold.

Israeli forces are also battling Hamas militants in northern Gaza, where the army had launched major operations earlier in the war. The military’s evacuation orders issued on Saturday have displaced around 100,000 people so far, deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters on Monday.

Palestinian officials say at least 12 people were killed in Israeli attacks in central Gaza overnight and on Tuesday.

No food has entered the two main border crossings in southern Gaza over the past week. About 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza are facing catastrophic levels of hunger, on the brink of starvation, and the north is experiencing “full famine,” according to the UN.

Seven months of Israeli bombing and ground operations in Gaza have killed more than 35,000 people, most of them women and children, according to local health officials.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping about 250 others. Israel says militants are still holding about 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

Currently:

– The misery in Gaza’s Rafah deepens as Israeli forces press for an operation.

– With the shock of October 7 still palpable, grief and anger grip Israel on Memorial Day.

– Pro-Palestinian protests wane on US campuses as some graduation ceremonies are marked by acts of defiance.

– Blinken delivers some of the strongest US public criticism yet of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza.

— Palestinian band escapes the horrors of war, but the future of its members remains uncertain.

Here’s the latest:

RIGHTS GROUP SAYS THE ISRAELI MILITARY HAS CARRIED OUT AT LEAST 8 STRIKES ON AUXILIARY WORKERS AND THEIR CONVOONS

JERUSALEM – Human Rights Watch says Israeli forces have carried out at least eight attacks on aid workers and their convoys since the start of the war in Gaza, killing at least 15 people, including two children.

The New York-based rights group said in a report on Tuesday that the aid groups had at least provided their coordinates to Israeli authorities to ensure their safety. It said no advance warning was given before the strikes, which also injured at least 16 people.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says more than 250 aid workers have been killed since the war began, mostly Palestinian workers from the U.N. Agency for Palestinian Refugees, the main provider in the area.

The Israeli military says it is investigating after a member of a UN security team was killed while driving in the southern city of Rafah on Monday. The military said the shooting took place in an “active combat zone” and that it had not been informed of the vehicle’s route.

The UN said one of its international staff was killed and another injured on Monday when their clearly marked UN vehicle was fired upon. It was not stated who was responsible, nor was the nationality of the staff members stated.

Human Rights Watch said the eight incidents it documented “reveal fundamental flaws in the so-called deconfliction system designed to protect aid workers and enable them to safely deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance in Gaza.”

Belkis Wille, associate crisis, conflict, and arms director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Israel’s allies must recognize that these attacks killing aid workers have happened again and again, and they must stop.”

Israel came under heavy criticism last month after launching a series of strikes that killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés.

Israel acknowledged that its forces had made a mistake in that case. It later said it had fired two officers and reprimanded another three for mishandling critical information and violating Army rules.

Aid agencies say their ability to deliver life-saving aid to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents is being hampered by Israeli restrictions, ongoing fighting and the difficulty of coordinating movements with the Israeli army. The UN says severe hunger is widespread in Gaza and the northern part of the territory is facing “full famine.”

Human Rights Watch says Israel has not responded to a request for information about the May 1 attacks. The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

ISRAELI STRIKES IN CENTRAL GAZA KILL AT LEAST Twelve PER NIGHT, PALESTINIAN OFFICIALS SAY

JERUSALEM — Palestinian officials say Israeli strikes in central Gaza overnight and Tuesday killed at least 12 people.

The Civil Defense says its first responders recovered eight bodies from a three-storey house that was razed to the ground in the built-up Nuseirat refugee camp. Four of the dead, including two men in their 60s and two women, were taken to a nearby hospital.

Another attack hit a caravan used by Hamas-led police at a shelter-turned-school in Nuseirat, killing at least four police officers.

The nearby Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital recorded the deaths.

Israel has repeatedly attacked Gaza police as part of its campaign to dismantle the group’s military and governance capabilities. Police, in turn, have largely disappeared from the streets, contributing to a breakdown of law and order that has hampered humanitarian aid operations.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says a total of 82 people killed in Israeli attacks have been taken to Gaza hospitals in the past 24 hours, as well as 234 wounded.

It said a total of 35,173 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, which was sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. The ministry makes no distinction between combatants and civilians in its figures.

The Israeli army says it has killed more than 13,000 militants, without providing evidence.

WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR SAYS ISRAEL AN ENDLESS COUNTERINURGENCY IN GAZA

WASHINGTON – White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday that the U.S. government has expressed concern to Israeli officials that they are becoming “embroiled in a counterinsurgency campaign that never ends” as Israel’s war cabinet remains focused on carrying out a major operation in the city of Gaza in southern Gaza. Rafa.

The comments from a top adviser to President Joe Biden came a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Israel could “hold the bag” over an ongoing uprising in post-war Gaza.

“Look, we have painful experience with counterinsurgency campaigns against terrorists in urban environments, in populated areas,” Sullivan said, referring to the long US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “And we know it’s not as simple as conducting a military operation and then ending it.”

Sullivan added: “One of the risks of participating in any form of counterinsurgency campaign is the ability of the terrorist group to attract more recruits and more followers as time goes on.”

Sullivan said he spoke with his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts on Sunday about redoubling diplomatic efforts in hostage truce negotiations, and that U.S. officials would hold further talks with the Israelis in coming days about how Israel can refine its plan to to support the armistice. Hamas militants in Rafah while reducing risk to Palestinian civilians.

He also pushed back against growing criticism from around the world – as well as US critics of Israel’s prosecution of the war – who say Israeli forces are committing a genocide against the Palestinians.

Egypt, a key US ally, said it would join South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, which accuses Israel of violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention.

“I can’t say it’s helpful to the discussions between Egypt and Israel to try to resolve aid and access issues,” Sullivan said of the move announced Sunday by Cairo, which is mediating the ceasefire along with Qatar -fire conversations. .

The United Nations’ highest court has concluded that there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza – a charge Israel strongly denies.

The Associated Press