Israel Launches Fiercest Assaults Ever Against Gaza

‘At least 25 Palestinian refugees were killed in Tuesday's Israeli strike on a school.’

Israel Launches Fiercest Assaults Ever Against Gaza

Israel launched an attack on southern Gaza's largest city in what it described as the worst fighting since it launched its ground invasion to destroy Hamas five weeks ago. According to the Hamas media office, the death toll has risen to at least 16,248 people, including 7,112 children and 4,885 women. Thousands more are missing and presumed to be buried beneath the wreckage.

On Tuesday, Israel said that its soldiers, backed by jets, had reached the center of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and had surrounded the city. The al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed branch, claimed that its men were involved in battles with Israelis.

"We are on the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation," said General Yaron Finkelman, head of Israel's Southern Command, in a statement.

They were also the most heated fights since an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire expired last week. According to Finkelman, Israeli soldiers also fought in Jabalia, a huge urban refugee camp in northern Gaza near Gaza City, and in Shuja'iyya, east of the city.

On Tuesday, Hamas' armed wing claimed to have killed or injured eight Israeli soldiers and damaged 24 military vehicles. An Israeli military website reported two personnel deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 83 since the combat campaign began.

According to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry, at least 25 Palestinian refugees were killed in an Israeli strike on a school on Tuesday.

According to witnesses, scores of injured persons, as well as dead bodies discovered from the wreckage of the Ma'an school in Khan Yunis, were carried to the city's Nasser hospital.

The Israeli army has been pounding Khan Yunis, Gaza's second-largest city, for many days and has now dispatched ground forces to the region in its fight against Hamas.