The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 220

Resistance returns to the north, UNRWA says 300,000 people fled Rafah

The Israeli army has intensified its renewed assault on Jabalia refugee camp and the Zeitoun area in northern Gaza as resistance factions regroup there, months after the Israeli army said it had “defeated Hamas” in the north.


Displaced Palestinians who fled Rafah to Deir al-Balah shelter at a camp on the shore, May 12, 2024. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)DISPLACED PALESTINIANS WHO FLED RAFAH TO DEIR AL-BALAH SHELTER AT A CAMP ON THE SHORE, MAY 12, 2024. (PHOTO: OMAR ASHTAWY/APA IMAGES)


  • 35,034 + killed* and at least 78,755 wounded in the Gaza Strip.*
  • 498+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
  • 620 Israeli soldiers have been announced as killed by the Israeli army since October 7, and at least 3,415 have been announced as wounded.***

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on May 9, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on May 12, this is the latest figure.

*** These figures are released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded, according to Israeli media reports, exceeds 6,800 as of April 1.

Key Developments 

  • Israel kills 130 Palestinians, wounds 241 since Friday, May 10, across Gaza, raising the death toll since October 7 to 35,034 and the number of wounded to 78,755, according to the Gaza health ministry.
  • The U.S. ambassador to Tel Aviv says that U.S. assistance to Israel will not be interrupted and that nothing strategic has changed in the U.S.-Israel relationship.
  • Netanyahu says that Israelis are “determined to achieve absolute victory.”
  • Israel’s war minister says that war will continue until “dismantling Hamas.”
  • Israeli forces escalate assault on Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza City.
  • Israeli bombing intensifies on Rafah as hundreds of thousands flee the city.
  • Israel kills one Palestinian and wounds 11 in military raids on Nablus in the West Bank.
  • Israeli settlers torch a house in Duma, south of Nablus.
  • UNRWA says that it will stay in Rafah “as long as possible,” while warning of societal “collapse.”
  • UNRWA closes its Jerusalem office following fire in its surroundings. The agency accuses Israeli assailants.
  • Hezbollah attacks several Israeli military positions across the border amidst new Israeli attacks on southern Lebanon.

Israel kills 130 Palestinians since Thursday, fighting intensifies in Jabalia and Zeitoun

The Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry announced that the remaining hospitals in the Gaza Strip received 130 Palestinians who were killed in Israeli strikes since Thursday, May 9, while 241 others arrived wounded.

Meanwhile, local media sources reported that in the past 24 hours, Israeli forces continued a renewed offensive on the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City’s south for the fifth day in a row. Israeli incursions were accompanied by intense airstrikes on the Zeitoun, Sabra, and Shuja’iyya neighborhoods, as well as on the Jabalia refugee camp, where Israeli forces have also entered by ground.

Airstrikes have killed an unspecified number of people in Gaza City, including 17 members of a single family in the last 24 hours. Among the killed was Tala Abu Zarifeh, a senior leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

In the central Gaza Strip, thousands of Palestinians continued to flee to Deir al-Balah from Rafah in the south. Meanwhile, Israeli strikes targeted the Nuseirat and Bureij refugee camps.

In the southern Gaza Strip, Israel continues its invasion of the eastern part of Rafah amid air strikes on all parts of the city. Palestinian medical sources said that rescue teams cannot reach victims in some parts of the city due to Israeli drone strikes. Israeli forces have also demolished several buildings in eastern Rafah.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to close both the Rafah and Karam Abu Salem land crossings for the seventh consecutive day, preventing the entry of aid into Gaza.

Simultaneously, intense fighting has been reported between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance groups across Gaza City and in Rafah. On Friday, the Israeli army announced that four soldiers were killed in combat with Palestinian fighters in the Zeitoun neighborhood, while several more were wounded.

Later, the Israeli army said that the number of its soldiers who were killed in Zeitoun rose to five and that some 50 more were wounded, marking the highest number of Israeli soldiers wounded in a single day since the beginning of Israel’s ground invasion. Among the wounded, according to the Israeli army, is Brig. Gen. Yogav Bar Sheshet, deputy defense establishment controller. Bar Sheshet is the highest-ranking Israeli officer to be wounded in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.

Israeli forces first invaded Gaza City in October, and later declared “full operational control” in the area. Israel’s new offensive in Zeitoun is the third, and in Jabalia is the second, since the beginning of the war.

UNRWA says 300,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah since last week

The UN agency responsible for the relief of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on Saturday that no safe places are left in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said in a post on X that “the claim of safe zones is false and misleading.”

Meanwhile, UNRWA’s X account said that 360,000 Palestinians have already left Rafah since the Israeli army started its invasion of the city last week, many fleeing Israeli bombs for the sixth and seventh time since October. In public comments from Geneva, Lazzarini said that Palestinians in Gaza have fled Israeli bombings since October at a rate of once per month.

UNRWA also said that it will not evacuate Rafah and would remain in the city to provide aid to the Palestinian population for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, the agency’s offices in Jerusalem were forced to close after an Israeli mob set fire to the perimeter of the offices twice on Thursday. UNRWA said that the fire was started while UNRWA staff was inside the offices and that they had to put the fire down themselves as Israeli fire trucks took too long to show up. Several videos circulated on social media showing fire around UNRWA’s Jerusalem offices, while Israelis could be heard chanting.

Israel has been calling to shut down the agency, which was established in 1949, in the aftermath of the Palestinian Nakba. Israel has accused UNRWA of having several Hamas operatives among its employees. The claims were deemed to bear no evidence by an independent investigation commissioned by the UN and by the European Union’s top humanitarian aid official. Accusations led 16 countries to withdraw their funding from UNRWA. Later, most countries resumed their funding, including the U.S.

Israel kills one Palestinian, wounds 11 in the West Bank

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man and wounded 11 people during a military raid on Balata refugee camp in Nablus on Sunday. The raid was confronted by Palestinian fighters in the camp and other parts of the city.

The Nablus-based Palestinian resistance group, the Lions’ Den, mourned the slain man in a statement as one of its fighters, identifying him as Samer Rummanah, 27, adding that he was killed in action while fighting off the raid.

Meanwhile, in Hebron, Israeli forces demolished six Palestinian houses across the southern West Bank governorate, all with the excuse of the lack of building permits. Demolitions took place in Masafer Yatta, the collection of twelve Palestinian villages in the south Hebron Hills declared a “firing zone” by Israel in 1981, and in the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron.

In Beit Ummar, Israeli forces demolished a 170 square meter house belonging to Nadim Sabarneh, a Palestinian detainee in Israeli jails. The house was home to nine people, including Sabarneh’s parents, wife, and children. Sabarneh is a member of Beit Ummar’s municipal council and has spent a total of 12 years in Israeli jails. He has been held in administrative detention, without charge, for the past 16 months.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said that Israeli forces have arrested at least 8,725 since October. Currently, Israel holds 9,500 Palestinians in its jails, including 80 women, 200 children, and over 3,600 detainees without charges.

Qassam MuaddiQassam Muaddi is the Palestine Staff Writer for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter/X at @QassaMMuaddi. More by this author





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