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Israeli airstrikes kill 20 in Gaza

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Twenty Palestinians were killed in the early hours of Tuesday in Israeli air strikes on Rafah and central parts of the Gaza Strip, Gaza health officials said.

In the southern Gaza city of Rafah, near the Egyptian border, where over 1 million Palestinians have sought shelter, 14 people were killed and dozens others wounded in strikes that hit several houses and apartments, Gaza medical officials said.

Six more people died in another air strike on a house in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, they added.

In Deir Al-Balah, a town in central Gaza about 14 km (8.6 miles) south of Gaza City, the sounds of explosions mixed with thunder and rain added to the miseries of displaced families in tent camps.

“We are no longer able to distinguish between the sounds of thunder and bombings,” Shaban Abdel-Raouf, a father of five in Deir Al-Balah, said via a chat application.

“We used to await the rain and pray to God if it was late. Today, we pray it doesn’t rain. The displaced people have enough misery,” he added.

The conflict, now in its sixth month, began when Hamas fighters stormed into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Since then, Israel’s assault has killed more than 31,000 Gazans, according to Palestinian health officials.

Negotiations for a ceasefire in the war were due to resume on Monday, with an Israeli delegation heading to Qatar.

“We are looking forward to the good news from Qatar. Will it happen this time? Will they seal a deal? Over 2 million people in Gaza are praying they do,” said Abdel-Raouf.

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