5 troops seriously hurt in Gaza; Palestinian man said killed as UN car hit in Rafah

Military investigating UN incident near border crossing with Egypt, where Hamas also targeted troops with mortar fire, amid fighting across Strip

Troops of the 460th Armored Brigade operate in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, in a handout photo published May 13, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the 460th Armored Brigade operate in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, in a handout photo published May 13, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Five Israeli soldiers and a Defense Ministry contractor were seriously wounded in a series of incidents in the Gaza Strip in recent days, the military announced Monday, as heavy fighting between troops and Hamas continued on Memorial Day in Israel.

Also Sunday, a United Nations vehicle came under fire in southern Gaza’s Rafah, killing a Palestinian driver and wounding a UN worker, according to Palestinian media reports. According to Israel’s Kan news, the incident took place near the Rafah Border Crossing.

It was unclear if Israeli forces or terror operatives opened fire at the UN car. The Israel Defense Forces said it was looking into the incident.

In Rafah, the IDF said that two soldiers of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit were seriously wounded by mortars launched by Hamas. The terror group claimed to have targeted troops near the Rafah Crossing with Egypt, which was captured by the IDF last week.

Another six troops were moderately hurt in the same incident.

A Defense Ministry contractor was seriously hurt and another two employees were lightly hurt in another incident in southern Gaza, the military added.

Troops of the 401st Armored Brigade operate in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, in a handout photo published May 13, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF also reported that on Sunday night, a soldier of the Givati Brigade’s Rotem Battalion was seriously wounded during a gun battle with operatives in the northern Gaza Strip.

Separately, the IDF said two troops of the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion were seriously wounded in an “operational accident” on the Gaza border, near the border community of Nir Am.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force struck more than 120 targets across Gaza over the past day, the military said Monday, as ground forces continued to operate in three locations in the Strip.

The 162nd Division was battling Hamas in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, including on the Palestinian side of the border crossing with Egypt.

The IDF said the division’s Givati Infantry Brigade raided Hamas sites in the area, killing gunmen and locating weapons and rocket launchers in the process; and the 401st Armored Brigade raided and destroyed additional sites, and seized weapons found at a school.

Palestinian residents reported heavy shelling and airstrikes on the eastern part of the city. The IDF has been operating in eastern Rafah since last week.

Some 360,000 Gazans have fled the southern city of Rafah since Israel began ordering evacuations from a section of the city last week, according to UNRWA, the main United Nations aid agency in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the IDF’s 98th Division was operating in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, after the military said it identified Hamas forces regrouping there.

The division’s 7th Armored Brigade and 460th Armored Brigade killed several gunmen during battles in the area, while the IAF struck several Hamas targets, including underground sites and a building where operatives were gathered, the IDF said.

Israeli tanks, under cover of heavy fire from air and ground, pushed further into Jabaliya in northern Gaza on Monday, residents and Hamas media said.

Tanks were advancing toward the heart of the camp, the largest of Gaza’s eight historic so-called refugee camps, locals said (these are not camps of refugees of the current war, but towns that have existed for decades). Residents said tank shells landed at the center of the camp and that airstrikes destroyed clusters of houses.

Tent encampments housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2024. (AFP)

The military on Sunday said it had launched a new offensive against Hamas in Jabaliya, after identifying terror operatives regrouping there. A day earlier, the IDF issued an evacuation warning for Jabaliya, where it estimated 100,000-150,000 Palestinians were sheltering.

Residents and medics claim several people were killed and wounded in a series of airstrikes on the camp overnight. The death tolls reported by Hamas officials could not be verified.

The IDF’s 99th Division was meanwhile operating in Gaza City’s Zeitoun, similarly after the IDF identified Hamas forces regrouping there.

The IDF said the division’s Multi-Domain Unit raided a weapons depot at the home of a Hamas operative in Zeitoun, and directed an airstrike against a sniper in the area.

The fighting in Gaza on Monday came as Israel marked Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Since last year’s Memorial Day, 1,600 soldiers and civilians have been killed in combat or by terror, according to figures released by authorities. Some 1,200 of those were killed during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel.

Also Monday, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claimed that the Palestinian territory’s health system was “hours away” from collapse, after fighting blocked fuel shipments through key crossings.

“We are just hours away from the collapse of the health system in the Gaza Strip due to the lack of the necessary fuel to operate generators in hospitals, ambulances, and [for vehicles to] transport staff,” the ministry said in a statement.

Troops mark Memorial Day in the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said Sunday night that it had coordinated the transfer of 266,000 liters (70,000 gallons) of fuel for use in hospitals or other humanitarian needs.

The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7 attacks, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 252 hostages amid acts of brutality and sexual assault.

The ensuing war has killed over 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, though data issued by the Hamas-run authorities cannot be independently verified, and is believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

Israel has said it has killed some 15,000 terror operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7, while 272 soldiers have been killed during the ground offensive against Hamas and in the course of operations along the Gaza border.

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