Israel pounds Gaza as UN Security Council meets over deadly strike

Israel carried out fresh strikes on Wednesday in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where its forces are battling Hamas militants, after the U.N. Security Council met to discuss a deadly attack that sparked global outcry.

Despite mounting concern over the civilian toll of its war on Hamas, Israel has shown no sign of changing course and international efforts aimed at securing a ceasefire remain stalled.

AFP journalists in Rafah reported new strikes early Wednesday, hours after witnesses and a Palestinian security source said Israeli tanks had penetrated the heart of the city.

"People are currently inside their homes because anyone who moves is being shot at by Israeli drones," resident Abdel Khatib said.

U.S. President Joe Biden has warned Israel against launching a major military operation in Rafah, but his administration insisted Tuesday that Israel had not yet crossed its red lines.

"We have not seen them smash into Rafah," said the U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

A civil defense official in Hamas-run Gaza said an Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah on Tuesday killed at least 21 people, after a similar strike over the weekend sparked global outrage and prompted the emergency U.N. Security Council session.

Israel's army rejected allegations that it had carried out Tuesday's strike in a designated humanitarian area.

"The (Israel army) did not strike in the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi," the army said in a statement, referring to an area that had been designated for displaced people of Rafah to shelter.

  Camp inferno 

On Sunday, an Israeli strike outside Rafah ignited an inferno in a displacement camp, torching makeshift...

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