Israeli tanks are apparently advancing into the center of Rafah. The UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting. Benny Gantz’s party is calling for new elections. All developments here in the news ticker.

10:22 p.m.: The Islamist Hamas says it wants a “complete agreement” with Israel on the release of the hostages kidnapped from Israel in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. However, an end to the Gaza war is a prerequisite, the terrorist organization said in a statement on Thursday. In that case, the Islamists are prepared to continue negotiations and reach a “comprehensive exchange agreement.” They also told the mediators this. Israel has so far rejected an end to the war.

The Islamists, however, left open what was meant by a “complete agreement”. This could mean that an exchange of all hostages for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons should take place at once – and not in several phases as previously planned.

Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told relatives of the hostages on Thursday that the current government was not ready to end the war, according to Israeli media.

Indirect talks on an agreement between the Israeli government and Hamas had already failed in the past because the Islamist organisation had made the final end of the war by Israel a condition for even a partial release of hostages.

4:04 p.m.: The party of war cabinet member Benny Gantz in Israel is calling for new elections: The party announced in a statement on Thursday that it had submitted a corresponding bill to dissolve parliament. At Gantz’s request, the new election should take place before October, i.e. before the one-year anniversary of the major attack by the radical Islamist Hamas on Israel.

Thursday, May 30, 3:38 a.m.: According to Syrian sources, a three-year-old girl was killed in an Israeli air strike. Israel hit a residential building in the coastal town of Banijas, the Syrian Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday. The three-year-old was killed and ten other civilians were injured in the attack. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the girl’s death and put the number of injured civilians at 20.

11:59 p.m.: According to the Israeli army, two Israelis were killed in a car attack in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. The attack took place outside Nablus in the north of the West Bank near an Israeli settlement, the Israeli army said. Two Israelis were killed, it told the AFP news agency.

7.20 p.m.: According to Israeli media reports, Israel’s military has taken control of the entire section of the Gaza Strip along the border with Egypt. Israeli troops are stationed in most of the area known as the Philadelphia Corridor, several media reported on Wednesday evening, citing the army. When asked, the military said it was checking the reports.

The reports said that there were around 20 tunnels in the approximately 14-kilometer-long area that led to Egypt. Hamas used tunnels to smuggle weapons into the coastal strip. Some of the tunnels were reportedly destroyed. Israel also informed its neighboring country Egypt about this.

4.39 p.m.: According to Israel’s National Security Advisor, the Gaza war will last at least until the end of the year. “We can expect at least seven more months of fighting this year,” Tzachi Hanegbi told the Israeli Kan broadcaster on Wednesday. This is necessary to destroy the rule of the Islamist Hamas and its military capabilities. The army has defined 2024 as the “year of fighting” in its plans. “We need patience and perseverance.”

The border area between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has become a “smugglers’ paradise” over the past 17 years. Together with Egypt, it is necessary to ensure that there will be no more arms smuggling there in the future. According to Egyptian reports, a total of 1,500 tunnels in the border area have been destroyed since 2013.

The Israeli army already controls 75 percent of the so-called Philadelphia Corridor – a roughly 14-kilometer-long border strip between Israel and Egypt, Hanegbi said. He assumes that Israel will gain control of the entire corridor over time.

Israel’s advance into the corridor represents a further test of relations with Egypt. Both countries signed a peace treaty in 1979 and established the corridor as a buffer zone. Egypt had already threatened in January that an “occupation” of the corridor by Israel would constitute a violation of the 45-year-old peace treaty. Egypt has also repeatedly rejected Israel’s claims that it enables or allows arms smuggling.

Israel will probably maintain security control in the long term because there are no other “volunteers,” Hanegbi continued. However, they do not want Israeli civilian rule in the coastal strip, but hope for a new Palestinian leadership. However, this will only be possible the “day after Hamas.”

Wednesday, May 29, 04:39: During a protest against the Israeli attacks on Rafah in the Gaza Strip, clashes broke out between a group of demonstrators and police near the Israeli embassy in Mexico. The demonstrators, some of whom were masked, threw stones at officials who blocked their way to the diplomatic complex, as an AFP journalist observed on Tuesday (local time). The police responded with tear gas.

People also protested against the Israeli attacks on Rafah in Paris on Tuesday. According to the police prefecture, up to 4,500 people were on the Place de la République before they were dispersed, some using tear gas, by the police. According to police reports, the Périphérique ring road was also blocked for a few minutes by a few dozen people. On Monday, around 10,000 people protested in the French capital.

On Monday night, a refugee camp near Rafah run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was hit by an Israeli air strike. According to the Ministry of Health, which is controlled by the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas, 45 people were killed and more than 240 others injured. The incident sparked international horror.

The Israeli army said it had “hit a Hamas complex in Rafah” where “important Hamas terrorists were active.” Two high-ranking Hamas officials who were involved in planning attacks in the occupied West Bank were killed in the attack. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of a “tragic mishap” in view of the deaths of innocent civilians. The Israeli army has launched an investigation.

12:04 p.m.: According to eyewitness reports, Israeli troops are advancing further into the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. According to this, troops were also seen in the city center on Tuesday. The Israeli news website ynet reported, citing sources in Rafah, that Israeli tanks were deployed in the Tal al-Sultan district. There have been no ground troops there so far. There was initially no confirmation of these reports from the Israeli army.

05.20 a.m.: Following a deadly Israeli air strike on a refugee camp near the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, the UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday. The meeting on the situation in Rafah will be held behind closed doors, the AFP news agency learned from diplomatic circles. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of a “tragic mishap” in reference to the incident, which provoked sharp international criticism. The Israeli army has launched an investigation. Meanwhile, AFP journalists reported new attacks on Rafah.

The emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is planned for Tuesday afternoon (local time), according to diplomatic sources. It was requested by Algeria.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the air strike, in which, according to the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas, 45 people were killed. “Numerous innocent civilians were killed” who had sought protection from the deadly conflict, Guterres said. There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip, he continued. “This horror must stop.”

Read more about the Iranian attack on Israel on the next page.