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The war in Gaza enters its third month with urban fighting, the threat of disease and a hunt for leader Hamas

2023-12-07T13:48:08.184Z

Highlights: The war in Gaza enters its third month with urban fighting, the threat of disease and a hunt for leader Hamas. Large areas of the besieged territory have been reduced to rubble by Israel's bombardment and ground offensive. Israel has tightened its grip on major urban centers in its hunt for the Islamist movement after the attack that the country's authorities said left 1,200 dead and 240 hostages. Israel on Wednesday approved a "minimal" increase in fuel supplies to prevent a "humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics"


The bombardments are going from north to south, including in Rafah, on the border with Egypt.


The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas entered its third month on Thursday.

Gaza's main cities were the scene of violent urban fighting on Thursday, at the start of the third month of the war sparked by the Islamist group's Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people and took some 240 hostages.

Large areas of the besieged territory have been reduced to rubble by Israel's bombardment and ground offensive that, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry, have left more than 16,200 people dead.

Israel has tightened its grip on major urban centers in its hunt for the Islamist movement after the attack that the country's authorities said left 1,200 dead and 240 hostages, of whom 138 are still in Gaza.

Israeli troops, supported by planes, tanks and armored bulldozers, are fighting Hamas militants in the main southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, as well as in Gaza City and the Jabaliya district in the north, a huge refugee camp with an area of just 1.4 square kilometers and which before the current conflict housed more than 115,000 people. according to the UN.

A journalist's family wiped out

The Qatari news network, Al Jazeera, has reported that one of its journalists lost 22 members of his family in an Israeli attack on the Jabalia refugee camp.

According to a statement by a Qatari media outlet, the house where Momen Al-Sharafi's family was sheltering was attacked on December 6. Al-Sharafi's mother, father, three of his siblings and some of his children were reportedly killed.

Wild boar torn apart by shelling. Photo: AFP

In October, another Al Jazeera reporter, Wael Al-Dahdouh, lost his wife, teenage son, young daughter and grandson in an Israeli attack in central Gaza.

Israel's bombardment of Gaza has been the deadliest for journalists since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Hamas leader would be surrounded

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his troops had arrived at the Khan Yunis home of Hamas leader inside Gaza Yahya Sinwar, saying it was "only a matter of time" to find him.

Israeli aircraft were also bombing Rafah, a town at the southern end of the Egyptian border that has become a huge camp for many of the 1.9 million displaced Gazans and was supposed to be safe within the small enclave.

"Where do you want us to go, for God's sake?" despaired Khamis al-Dalu, whose family had fled first from Gaza City to Khan Yunis and from there to Rafah.

Injured children are waiting to be treated at Nasser hospital. Photo: Reuters

Overnight, eight shellings hit Rafah, an AFP correspondent said. The Health Ministry reported at least 37 dead and many more injured.

As the rubble searched for survivors and victims, relatives carried the remains of a girl covered in a thin flower-patterned cloth, an AFP reporter observed.

The massive number of civilian casualties has sparked international concern, accentuated by Israel's siege of the territory where only a limited amount of food, water, fuel and medicine enters.

Israel on Wednesday approved a "minimal" increase in fuel supplies to prevent a "humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics in the southern Gaza Strip," Netanyahu's office announced. But the bombings make it difficult to distribute fuel.

Wounded Palestinians arrive at Nasser hospital. Photo: Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of an "imminent total breakdown of law and order due to desperate conditions" in Gaza.

Guterres also invoked an exceptional U.N. procedure to call for a ceasefire, drawing the ire of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

The minister accused Guterres of being a "danger to world peace" and providing "support to the Hamas terrorist organization."

"We also want this war to end" but "in a way that guarantees that Hamas will never be able to attack our people again," Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said.

Spread of diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is concerned about the spread of disease in Gaza as displaced Palestinians struggle to survive amid relentless Israeli bombardment.

Palestinians beg for food in Rafah. Photo: Reuters

The WHO's representative for the West Bank and Gaza, Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, says the displaced are "looking for sheets, wood, everything."

"We are very afraid of the spread of infectious diseases, waterborne diseases," he says, describing the water situation as "incredibly critical everywhere."

Al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis houses thousands of patients, he says, even though it only has a capacity for 350.

"The trauma ward was a war zone when we visited," he says. "A lot of trauma patients lying on the ground, screaming and scaring their relatives."

The Battles

In a morning report, the Israeli military said its troops "killed Hamas terrorists and hit dozens of terror targets" in Khan Yunis and stormed a Hamas military compound in Jabaliya.

Israel fires artillery into Gaza. Photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP

Its naval forces also "attacked Hamas military compounds and infrastructure using precision munitions."

The Islamist group, listed as terrorist by the United States and the European Union, said on Telegram that its fighters were fighting fierce battles against Israeli troops "on all axes of the incursion into the Gaza Strip."

The movement claimed responsibility for the destruction of two dozen military vehicles in Khan Yunis and Beit Lahia (north).

The Israeli army announced the deaths of three more soldiers, bringing the total number of casualties in its ranks inside Gaza to 86.

The war led to hostilities with other Iranian-backed armed groups, such as Lebanon's Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthis, as well as an upsurge in violence in the West Bank.

In the occupied Palestinian territory, more than 250 people have been killed by Israeli army or settler attacks since the start of the conflict, according to the Palestinian Authority.

Two bleak months

The two months of fighting have been devastating for Gazans, already subjected to years of blockade and poverty before the war.

"We are devastated, mentally overwhelmed," says Amal Mahdi, a resident of Khan Yunis.

Ghassan Bankr arrived in this city as a displaced person and is homeless. "It rained on us last night. There is no food, no bread, no flour," he lamented.

An Israeli plane circles in the sky over Gaza. Photo: Reuters

In Israel, which is preparing to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the traumatic images of the Oct. 7 attack are still vivid, and concern remains for the hostages still held captive after the release of 80 during a seven-day truce.

To remember those killed or kidnapped by Hamas at a music festival, a Tel Aviv exhibition pavilion recreated the site with shops and belongings of the victims.

With information from AFP and BBC News

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-12-07

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