The Israeli armed forces announced that they are conducting new operations, especially in the central sector of the Gaza Strip in the early hours of the morning.

The Israeli military said these were “precision” and “intelligence-based” operations to “eliminate terrorists” and strike “terrorist infrastructure in central Gaza.”

Fighters bombed targets and engaged forces in the field, the military added.

Forces spotted an “armed terrorist who emerged from an underground tunnel near them” and entered “military infrastructure”, before being targeted by an aircraft as he approached Israeli soldiers.

“Rocket launch pads” were found, while the Israeli Navy was also involved, opening fire on various targets, always according to the Israeli armed forces.

First aid workers in the area reported at least five dead in an apartment building in the Nuseirat refugee camp, southwest of Gaza City.

In the south, six people were killed in airstrikes in Rafah, on the closed border with Egypt, sources in the Palestinian emergency services said.

The Israeli military said a Hamas “financier” was also killed in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip. It named him as “Nasser Yaakov Jaber Nasser” and called him “responsible for financing much of Hamas’ military activities in Rafah,” claiming that in December he transferred “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Earlier this week, the Israeli army withdrew units from Khan Younis and other sectors of the southern Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted, however, that the deployment was part of plans to launch a ground assault on Rafah, on the southern edge of the Palestinian enclave, which he says is Hamas’ “last” major stronghold.

Prime Minister Netanyahu insists that this operation will take place, despite the fact that nearly 1.5 million forcibly displaced Gazans have taken refuge in the city and despite pressure from various foreign governments, including that of the US, Israel’s main ally, to be canceled so that there are no even heavier casualties among the civilian ranks.