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Dozens of Israeli tanks, personnel carriers and bulldozers entered southern Gaza: civilians have nowhere to take refuge


Highlights: Dozens of Israeli tanks, personnel carriers and bulldozers enter southern Gaza. U.S. officials say Israel has right to defend itself, but soldiers must protect civilians. Israel launched a ferocious war against Hamas in Gaza on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people. Hamas-run Ministry of Health says more than 15,500 people have been killed in Israel's retaliatory campaign, including some 6,000 children. The Israeli army said it would expand its operations "throughout the Gaza Strip"

Israel has redoubled its offensive throughout the territory and is multiplying its bombardment in the south, where civilians are taking refuge. U.S. request to protect them.

The Israeli army on Monday extended its ground operation to "all areas" of the Gaza Strip after the resumption of fighting on Friday. Dozens of tanks rolled into the south of the enclave on Monday despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians and rising tensions in the region.

In the morning, he posted on social media a new order for people to evacuate about 20 areas of the Palestinian enclave amid warnings from humanitarian groups that Gazans are running out of places to flee.

Senior U.S. officials, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, reiterated their view that Israel had the right to defend itself, but added that its soldiers must protect civilians.

An adviser to Israel's prime minister told the BBC that his country was making "maximum efforts" to avoid civilian casualties.

An Israeli helicopter flies over Gaza's border with Israel. Photo: Reuters

Israel launched a ferocious war against Hamas in Gaza, after the radical Palestinian group attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 more hostage.

Israel declared war on Hamas and vowed to "annihilate" Hamas, which has ruled the Palestinian enclave since 2007.

Since the war began, Gaza's Hamas-run Ministry of Health says more than 15,500 people have been killed in Israel's retaliatory campaign, including some 6,000 children.

Israel multiplies bombardments in the south

Israeli forces, which launched a ground offensive on 27 October in the north of the Palestinian enclave, have stepped up shelling in the south since fighting resumed on 1 December after a seven-day truce. The army said it would expand its operations "throughout the Gaza Strip."

"The army operates everywhere Hamas has strongholds," its spokesman, Daniel Hagari, said late Sunday.

Dozens of Israeli tanks, troop carriers and bulldozers entered the south of the small territory, near the town of Khan Yunis, witnesses told AFP on Monday.

Amin Abu Hola, 59, said the military vehicles had already penetrated about two kilometers to the village of al-Qarara, northeast of Khan Yunis. "The tanks are already on the Salaheddin road," which crosses the Gaza Strip from north to south, said Moaz Mohammed, 34.

A bombing at the entrance to the Kamal Adwan hospital, located in northern Gaza, left several dead in the early hours of the morning, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa. The Hamas government accused the Israeli army of a "grave violation" of international law. The military did not confirm this information.

Israel accuses the Palestinian Islamist group, also listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, of having installed infrastructure under hospitals in the Strip and of using civilians as human shields.

Funeral of one of the Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza. Photo: Reuters

The Israeli military announced on Monday that three soldiers were killed on Sunday in the north of the territory, bringing to 75 the number of servicemen killed since the start of the ground offensive.

In total, 401 Israeli soldiers have been killed since 7 October.

Truce and exchange of hostages and prisoners

Under a truce brokered by Qatar, with support from Egypt and the United States, 80 Israeli hostages were released in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners.

More than 20 additional hostages were also released from Gaza, mostly Thais living in Israel.

But the truce was broken on Friday, when - according to Israel - Hamas fired a rocket from Gaza. Negotiations to extend the ceasefire and release more hostages failed to resume.

War Brings Down the South

In the south of the territory, Israeli bombardments have focused in recent days on Khan Yunis and its surroundings, where every day the army warns of a "terrible attack imminent" and orders the evacuation of the population.

Israeli troops operate in Gaza. Photo: Reuters

Since the start of the war, hundreds of thousands of Gazans have fled their homes and are crammed into the south.

Israel said it was not trying to force Gaza's civilians to leave their homes for good, although it acknowledged that conditions were "harsh."

"We have asked civilians to evacuate the fighting zone, and we have designated a humanitarian zone inside the Gaza Strip," said Jonathan Conricus, one of the Israeli army spokesmen, referring to a narrow coastal strip within the enclave, called Al Mawasi.

Hospitals, which in the north are almost all out of service, in the south are overflowing with wounded, without electricity and with very little fuel in reserves.

"We are at a loss for words to describe the horrors that plague children here," James Elder, a UNICEF spokesman at Khan Yunis' Nasser hospital, the largest in southern Gaza, said on Sunday.

"I see children arriving en masse among the victims," he said.

Plumes of smoke billowed from the Gaza Strip on Monday. Photo: Jack Guez/ AFP

The Israeli military reported that it had carried out "about 10,000 bombardments" in Gaza since the start of the war.

These attacks destroyed or damaged more than half of the buildings, according to the UN, whose secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, spoke of "a global humanitarian catastrophe."

The needs are immense in the territory, which has been under total siege since October 9, where 1.8 million people, out of a total of 2.4 million, were forced to be displaced by the war, according to the UN.

Except for the seven-day truce that allowed hundreds of trucks of humanitarian aid to enter from Egypt, the Rafah border crossing is partially open.

Military actions in the West Bank

At the same time, the Israeli army launched operations in the early hours of Monday in different sectors of the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, especially in Jenin, according to the Wafa agency.

The United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars a year in military aid, has stepped up calls to protect civilians in Gaza.

The Israeli military launched operations in different sectors of the West Bank on Monday, where settlers also attacked Palestinian homes and cars. Photo: Reuters

"Too many innocent Palestinians have died," Vice President Kamala Harris said at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

Germany also urged Israel to ensure "real" protection for the hundreds of thousands of civilians in the enclave.

Amid fears of a regional conflagration, a U.S. destroyer shot down several drones over the Red Sea while assisting commercial vessels that had been targeted from Yemen.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen said they attacked two of the ships. They have also launched a series of drones and missiles at Israel in recent weeks.

With information from AFP and BBC News

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-12-04

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