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Fighting rages in Gaza's Rafah after first aid delivery via pier

Heavy clashes and bombardment Saturday rocked Gaza's southern city of Rafah, witnesses said, as the Israeli military announced the first 310 pallets of humanitarian aid had entered the besieged territory via a US-built pier.

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Dozens of Israeli protesters attack truck in bid to block Gaza aid

Dozens of Israeli protesters attacked a truck in the occupied West Bank, beating its driver and setting it on fire in an apparent attempt to prevent aid from reaching Gaza, the Israeli military said Friday.

The Israeli military says soldiers arrived at the scene late in the day and tried to separate the attackers from the driver and provide medical treatment. It says the protesters then attacked the soldiers, lightly injuring two officers and a soldier. According to Israeli media, the truck was carrying ordinary commercial goods, not aid for Gaza.

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Yemen's Houthis shoot down another US MQ-9 Reaper drone

Yemen's Houthi rebels on Friday claimed to have shot down an American drone, hours after footage circulated online of what appeared to be the wreckage of an MQ-9 Reaper drone. The U.S. military did not immediately acknowledge the incident.

If confirmed, this would be yet another Reaper downed by the Houthis as they press their campaign over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

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13 countries urge restraint from Israel over Rafah

Thirteen Western countries, including many traditionally supportive of Israel, appealed to it Friday not to launch a large-scale offensive on Rafah.

"We reiterate our opposition to a full-scale military operation in Rafah that would have catastrophic consequences on the civilian population," read the appeal, sent by the countries' foreign ministers to their Israeli counterpart Israel Katz and made public.

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Israel responds to genocide charges at UN court

Israel told the United Nations' top court on Friday that a case brought by South Africa about its military operation in Gaza "makes a mockery of the heinous charge of genocide."

The International Court of Justice is holding a third round of hearings on emergency measures requested by South Africa, which wants the court, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, to order a cease-fire in the enclave.

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US military says first aid delivered to Gaza via temporary pier

Trucks carrying badly needed aid for the Gaza Strip rolled across a newly built U.S. floating pier into the besieged enclave for the first time Friday as Israeli restrictions on border crossings and heavy fighting hinder food and other supplies reaching people there.

The shipment is the first in an operation that American military officials anticipate could scale up to 150 truckloads a day entering the Gaza Strip as Israel presses in on the southern city of Rafah as its 7-month offensive against Hamas rages on.

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US House votes against pausing arms to Israel

The House delivered a rebuke to President Joe Biden Thursday for pausing a shipment of bombs to Israel, passing legislation that seeks to force the weapons transfer as Republicans worked to highlight Democratic divisions over the Israel-Hamas war.

Seeking to discourage Israel from its offensive on the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah, the Biden administration this month put on hold a weapons shipment of 3,500 bombs — some as large as 2,000 pounds — that are capable of killing hundreds in populated areas. Republicans were outraged, accusing Biden of abandoning the closest U.S. ally in the Middle East.

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Israel says more troops to 'enter Rafah' as operations intensify

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Thursday that more troops would "enter Rafah" as military operations intensify in Gaza's far-southern city.

The operation in Rafah "will continue as additional forces will enter" the area, Gallant said, adding that "several tunnels in the area have been destroyed by our troops... this activity will intensify".

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Top UN court opens hearings on Israel military incursion into Rafah

The United Nations' top court opens two days of hearings on Thursday into a request from South Africa to press Israel to halt its military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population has sought shelter.

It is the fourth time South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice for emergency measures since the nation launched proceedings alleging that Israel's military action in its war with Hamas in Gaza amounts to genocide.

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Netanyahu fends off criticism over lack of postwar plan for Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fended off criticism that he is not planning for a postwar reality in the Gaza Strip, saying it was impossible to prepare for any scenario in the embattled Palestinian enclave until Hamas is defeated.

Netanyahu has faced increasing pressure from critics at home and allies abroad, especially the United States, to present a plan for governance, security and rebuilding of Gaza.

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