Israel-Iran latest: Tehran downplays presumed Israeli attack but vows response to further action

There’s considerable relief in parts of the Middle East after Israel’s very limited response to last week’s rocket and drone attack by Iran and a feeling that, for now, neither Israel nor Iran want to escalate things further.

But the 6-month-long war in Gaza continues.

Overnight Israeli planes and tanks pounded several areas across Gaza Strip, including areas of Rafah where over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are reported to be sheltering.

One strike reportedly hit a residential building in the city, killing nine people, including four children, and wounding several others, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Air strikes also reportedly destroyed at least five houses in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still committed to a big military offensive in the southern city of Rafah, to defeat Hamas once and for all.

In recent days, the US and other allies have warned Netanyahu against such a full-on attack in Rafah, fearful of the humanitarian consequences.

Many Israelis, too, are worried that when the offensive in southern Gaza eventually starts it will put the safety of the 130 hostages still being held there, at even greater risk.

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