Death toll soars as fighting rages across Gaza, Israel raids West Bank

Fighting raged across Gaza and Israeli units raided the West Bank on Sunday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has faced growing domestic criticism, rejected calls for post-war "Palestinian sovereignty".

Alongside fierce fighting in southern Gaza and across the besieged territory, strikes in Syria and Iraq raised fears of a wider conflagration.

Hamas-run Gaza's health ministry reported at least 165 people killed over the previous 24 hours - more than double Friday's toll.

An AFP correspondent reported gunfire, air strikes and tank shelling that was especially heavy in Khan Yunis, souther Gaza's main city.

Witnesses also told AFP that Israeli boats were bombarding Gaza City and other areas in the north early on Sunday.

In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, at least five people were killed in a strike that hit what the Gaza health ministry said was a civilian car.

Israel is pressing its push southwards against Hamas, after the military said in early January the militants' command structure in northern Gaza had been dismantled, leaving only isolated fighters.

But Hamas has also reported heavy combat in the north of Gaza as Israel's military said its troops, backed by air and naval support, were striking militant infrastructure throughout the Palestinian territory.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the group's unprecedented October attacks that resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel's relentless bombardment and ground offensive have killed at least 24,927 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Violence has also surged in the Israeli-occupied...

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