Dozens of Israeli tanks entered the southern Gaza Strip, where the army expanded its ground offensive against Hamas despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians and rising tensions in the region. Satellite images showed dozens of Israeli tanks, personnel carriers and bulldozers reached the area and the Israeli army confirmed that it was acting “with force” around the village of Al Qarara, northeast of Khan Younis.
Israeli forces, which began a ground offensive on October 27 in the north of the Palestinian enclave, have been warning for several days of a “terrible imminent attack” in the south and ordered the evacuation of the population, according to the Israeli newspaper. Yedioth Aharonoth. “The fighting and the ground advance of the Israeli army in the Khan Younis area do not allow civilians to move along the Salaheddin (road) axis, in the north and east of the city”the army said in a statement.
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The Hamas Health Ministry reported 15,899 deaths on Monday, of which 70% were women and children, in the Israeli bombings, launched in response to the unprecedented attack by the Islamist movement on Israeli soil on October 7. The Islamist commandos infiltrated that day in Israel killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to authorities.
Israel declared war and promised “annihilate” to Hamas, which has ruled the Palestinian enclave since 2007. In this context, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric, who arrived in Gaza on Monday, denounced the “intolerable” suffering of the population. “I reiterate our urgent call for civilians to be protected in accordance with the laws of war and for aid to be allowed in unhindered,” he wrote.
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“Despite what is claimed, the attacks in southern Gaza are as ruthless as those suffered in the north,” James Elder, a Unicef spokesman, posted on X on Monday. “People ask us for advice on where they can take refuge. We don’t know what to tell them,” denounced Thomas White, director of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza.
The Israeli army announced on Monday that three soldiers died the day before in the north of the territory, bringing the number of soldiers killed since the start of the ground offensive to 75 and 401 since October 7. Fighting broke out again on Monday in Gaza City, the target of several airstrikes. According to witnesses, Israeli tanks opened fire and entered the old town market for the first time, destroying dozens of stalls.