Street fighting and Israeli bombardment rocked Rafah in the Gaza Strip Wenesday, residents and officials said, a day after Israeli tanks rolled into the centre of the city near the Egyptian border.

The Israeli army pushed on with its mission despite a global outcry that intensified after a deadly strike set ablaze a crowded camp on Sunday night.

The UN Security Council was set to meet for a second day of emergency talks after that strike ignited a fire that Gaza officials said killed 45 people and injured about 250.

Israel's National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said the war could go on until the year's end.

"We may have another seven months of fighting," Hanegbi said.

Fighting has again flared in Rafah, where an Israeli helicopter fired guns and missiles at targets in the city centre.

AFPTV footage showed Palestinians with bloodied midriffs and bandaged limbs after being wounded in strikes near Khan Yunis, close to Rafah, being taken to the European Hospital on makeshift gurneys.

The army said three soldiers were killed in Rafah on Tuesday, raising to 292 its death toll in the Gaza campaign since the ground offensive started on October 27.

The United States has been among the countries urging Israel to refrain from a full-scale offensive into Rafah, the last Gaza city to see ground fighting, because of the risk to civilians.

A steady stream of civilians has been fleeing Rafah, the new hotspot in the gruelling war, many carrying their belongings on their shoulders, in cars or on donkey-drawn carts.

Before the Rafah offensive began on May 7, the United Nations had warned that up to 1.4mn people were sheltering there. Since then, one million have fled the area, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has said.

Israel's offensive has killed at least 36,171 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

New fighting also hit other areas of Gaza, a besieged territory of 2.4mn people.

In the north, Israeli military vehicles unleashed intense gunfire east of Gaza City, and residents reported air strikes on parts of Jabalia.

Nearly eight months into the deadliest Gaza war, Israel has faced ever louder opposition and cases before two Netherlands-based international courts.

At the UN Security Council, Algeria has presented a draft resolution that "demands an immediate ceasefire respected by all parties" and the release of all hostages.

Brazil, whose ties with Israel have soured over the war, Wednesday recalled its ambassador, further raising tensions between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the World Central Kitchen nonprofit organisation said it was stopping its operations in Rafah because of "ongoing attacks" in the southern city.
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