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War with Hamas: Israel Continues Military Campaign in Gaza with Strong U.S. Support

2023-12-10T17:38:02.656Z

Highlights: Heavy fighting continues across Gaza, including in the devastated north. U.S. backs Israel's intention to crush the terrorist organization's military and governance capabilities. Israel is facing calls for a ceasefire after killing thousands of Palestinian civilians and displacing nearly 85% of the country's 2.3 million people. Washington has not set a deadline for Israel to achieve its goals of dismantling Hamas and taking back all hostages, an Israeli official says.. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi: "Israel has created a level of hatred that will haunt this region for generations"


Tel Aviv is facing calls for a ceasefire after killing thousands of Palestinian civilians and displacing nearly 85% of the country's 2.3 million people. Washington backs Israel's intention to crush the terrorist organization's military and governance capabilities.


Heavy fighting continued overnight and Sunday morning across Gaza, including in the devastated north, as Israel pressed ahead with its offensive after the United States blocked international efforts to halt the fighting and sent more ammunition to its ally.

Israel is facing growing international outrage and calls for a ceasefire after killing thousands of Palestinian civilians and displacing nearly 85 percent of the 2.3 million people inside the besieged territory, where U.N. agencies say there is no safe place to flee.

The U.S. has lent vital support to the offensive in recent days by vetoing a U.N. Security Council initiative to halt the fighting that enjoyed broad international support, as well as approving an emergency sale of $100 million worth of tank ammunition to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for the "important ammunition for the continuation of the war" and for the support for Israel in the Security Council.

The U.S. has pledged staunch support for Israel's goal of crushing Hamas' military and governance capabilities to prevent a repeat of the Oct. 7 attack that sparked the war. Hamas and other Palestinian militants stormed southern Israel that day, killing about 1,200 people and capturing about 240, of whom just over <> were freed during a week-long ceasefire last month.

Israeli troops conducting military operations in the Gaza Strip. Photo: Xinhua

Israel responded to the onslaught with a devastating air and ground war that has killed thousands of Palestinians, mostly civilians, and forced an estimated 1.9 million people to flee their homes, according to United Nations agencies.

Barely a trickle of aid was allowed into the enclave and delivery was impossible in much of the territory, and Palestinians faced severe shortages of food, water and other essentials.

"Rest assured that law and order will collapse soon, and an even worse situation could occur, including epidemics and pressures for mass displacement into Egypt," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a forum in Qatar.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told the forum that mediation efforts to end the war and secure the release of the hostages would continue, but "it is always necessary for the two sides to be willing (to make) that effort. Unfortunately, we're not seeing the same willingness that we've seen in the previous weeks."

Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel's 12 TV channel late Saturday that Washington has not set a deadline for Israel to achieve its goals of dismantling Hamas and taking back all hostages.

"The analysis that this can't be measured in weeks is correct, and I'm not sure it can be measured in months," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN that "we have these discussions with Israel, including about the duration and how it's executing this campaign against Hamas. Those are decisions that Israel will have to make."

This is a war that cannot be won, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said at the forum, further warning that "Israel has created a level of hatred that will haunt this region for generations."

Fighting and arrests in the north

Israeli forces continued to encounter stiff resistance even in the northern Gaza Strip, where entire neighborhoods have been destroyed by airstrikes and where troops have been operating for about six weeks.

Israel's Channel 13 broadcast images of dozens of detainees in their underwear and with their hands in the air. Several were holding assault rifles over their heads and one man was seen slowly advancing forward and placing a gun on the ground before returning to the group.

In recent days, other videos have shown groups of unarmed men being held in similar conditions, naked, tied up and blindfolded. Men from another group of detainees who were released Saturday told The Associated Press they had been beaten and denied food and water. The Israeli military declined to comment on questions about the alleged abuses.

Israeli media have portrayed the arrests as an indication of Hamas' surrender in the north.

Israeli troops conducting military operations in the Gaza Strip. Photo: Xinhua

However, locals said there was still heavy fighting in Shijaiyah, a Gaza City neighborhood, and in the Jabaliya refugee camp, a densely populated urban area where Palestinians who fled or were expelled from what is now Israel in the 1948 war around its creation live. and their descendants.

"They attack everything that moves," said Hamza Abu Fatouh, a resident of Shijaiyah. He added that the dead and wounded were left lying in the streets because ambulances could no longer reach the area, where Israeli snipers and tanks had been deployed among the abandoned buildings.

"The resistance is also fighting back," he added, and there had been gunfire on Saturday night.

The Israeli military said it had stormed a Hamas command center in Shijaiyah and confiscated several weapons, including assault rifles, grenades, anti-tank missile launchers and ammunition.

Israel ordered the evacuation of the northern third of the territory, including Gaza City, early in the war, but tens of thousands of people have remained, fearing that the south would not be safer or that they would never be allowed to return to their homes if they leave.

In the southern Gaza Strip, residents of Khan Younis, where ground troops arrived earlier this month, said they heard constant gunfire and explosions throughout the night as warplanes bombed areas in and around the southern city, Gaza's second-largest.

"It doesn't stop," said Radwa Abu Frayeh, who lives near the European Hospital in Khan Younis. "There is shelling, and then the ambulances come out to bring the victims."

Waiting for food

In central Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians waited for flour outside a U.N. distribution center. The price of food has skyrocketed as much of the territory faces severe shortages. Abdulsalam al-Majdalawi said he has been coming every day for nearly two weeks in hopes of getting food for his family of seven.

"Every day we spend five or six hours here and come home (empty-handed)," he said. "Thank God they got our name out today."

After two months of war, the Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip has surpassed 17,700, mostly women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory. The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and dead combatants.

Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties, arguing that it uses civilians as human shields in populated areas. The army said 97 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the ground offensive. Palestinian militants have also continued to fire rockets into Israel.

Netanyahu's office said Sunday that Hamas still holds 117 hostages, as well as the remains of 20 people killed in captivity or during the Oct. 7 attack. The militants hope to exchange them for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Israel says it has given detailed instructions for civilians to evacuate to safer areas, though it continues to strike what it describes as military targets across the territory. Thousands of people have fled to the southern town of Rafah and other areas on the border with Egypt in recent years, one of the last areas where aid agencies can hand out food and water.

The war has heightened tensions across the region, with Lebanon's Hezbollah exchanging fire with Israel along the border and other Iranian-backed militant groups attacking the United States in Syria and Iraq.

France said one of its warships in the Red Sea shot down two drones that had approached from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have vowed to halt Israeli shipping through the key waterway.

Israel has designated a narrow, arid strip of coastline in the south, Muwasi, as a safe zone, but Palestinians describe overcrowded conditions with little shelter and no sanitation. The nighttime temperature hovers around 11 degrees Celsius (52 degrees Fahrenheit).

"I'm sleeping in the sand. She's frozen," said Soad Qarmoot, who said she was sick with cancer and had been forced to leave her home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

As she spoke, her children huddled around a campfire.

Source: AP and AFP

PB

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-12-10

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