The Israeli military said on Tuesday it had surrounded the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza after destroying what it called a “terrorist infrastructure”, Al Jazeera reported.
The Jabalia camp, the largest in Gaza, has already been targeted by Israeli airstrikes several times since October 7, killing hundreds of people and destroying infrastructure.
According to the latest reports, Israel had stepped up attacks across the Gaza Strip, including near hospitals and in the south of the besieged enclave where the ground operation was intensifying.
Citing the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Al Jazeera said “Israel’s indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian civilians in southern Gaza has reached new depths.”
Speaking about last night’s attacks, Hani Mahmoud – referring to the Qatar-based media house from Gaza – said “this has been a very, very difficult night for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, especially for the residents of Khan City Eunice and the city of Rafah. and the 1.5 million evacuees who have been pushed south by the Israeli army to avoid the bombardment of northern Gaza.”
There were reports of continuous heavy artillery shelling, airstrikes and mass shelling since early yesterday afternoon, it said.
“The vast majority of homes and public facilities – schools, hospitals, medical centers and shops – on the eastern side of Khan Younis have been completely destroyed. At the same time, people were ordered to evacuate in the midnight and early morning hours today under heavy shelling.”
Ambulances trying to reach the eastern side of Khan Younis in Abasan al-Kabira and Bani Suheila came under fire, severely hampering efforts to evacuate the wounded or retrieve the bodies of the dead at night.
Resistance fighters are fighting the Israeli invasion forces
Hamas fighters battled invading Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday after the Israelis extended their offensive deeper into the besieged territory, with warnings that an “even more hellish scenario” was unfolding for trapped civilians.
Israel had initially focused its attack on the northern part of the territory, but the army has now dropped leaflets in parts of the south, telling Palestinian civilians to flee to other areas.
Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. PHOTO: Reuters
Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers were seen on Monday near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, which is packed with civilians who fled their homes further north in the area earlier in the war, witnesses told AFP.
An AFP journalist in Rafah, near Gaza’s border with Egypt, saw smoke rising late Monday from buildings in southern Gaza after Israeli shelling.
The army said on Monday it was taking “offensive” action against “Hamas and other terrorist organizations” in Khan Younis, warning that the main road to the north and east of the city “is a battlefield”.
Hamas claimed via Telegram that its fighters had targeted two personnel carriers and a tank near Khan Younis.
Its military branch also said it fired rockets at Beersheba in southern Israel on Tuesday, while the Israeli military said rocket warning sirens sounded there.
As Israel’s offensive pushes deeper into Gaza, international aid groups have warned that civilians in the densely populated area are running out of places to flee.
“Nowhere is safe in Gaza and there is nowhere to go,” said Lynn Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.
“If possible, an even more hellish scenario is about to unfold, one that humanitarian operations may not be able to respond to,” Hastings said in a statement.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza says the war has killed nearly 15,900 people in the territory, about 70 percent of them women and children.
In the town of Rafah, near the Egyptian border, resident Abu Jahar al-Hajj said an airstrike near his home felt “like an earthquake”.
“Bunks of concrete started falling on us,” he said.
In Deir al-Balah further north, Walaa Abu Libda took refuge in a hospital but said her four-year-old daughter remained trapped under the rubble.
“I don’t know if she’s dead or alive,” said Libda, one of the roughly 1.8 million people displaced in Gaza — about three-quarters of the population, according to U.N. figures.
Three more Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, the military said on Tuesday, bringing the death toll there to 78.
Israel’s military denied on Tuesday that it told the World Health Organization to empty an aid warehouse in southern Gaza within 24 hours before ground operations in the area render it useless.
On Monday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote to X that his organization had received notice from the military “that we must remove our supplies from our medical warehouse in southern Gaza within 24 hours.”
The United States’ key ally has warned Israel to do more to prevent civilian casualties as operations shift south.
Israel claimed on Monday that it was not seeking to force Palestinian civilians out of their homes permanently, but was instead seeking support from aid groups to improve infrastructure in a small coastal strip of Gaza called Al-Mawasi.
“We asked civilians to evacuate the battlefield and provided a designated humanitarian zone within the Gaza Strip,” said Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, senior Israeli military officials admitted that about two civilians have been killed for every Hamas fighter killed in the Gaza Strip. To date, Israeli forces have not confirmed that any Hamas fighters were captured or killed.
“Hopefully (the ratio) will be much lower” in the next phase of the war, one of the officials added.
To that end, the officials claimed, the army uses high-tech mapping software to track population movements within the Gaza Strip and issue evacuation orders.
The system integrates cellphone and other signals, aerial surveillance and news from local sources, as well as artificial intelligence, to maintain a constantly updated map showing population concentrations across the territory.
But the UN Office for Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) has questioned the usefulness of such a tool in an area where access to telecommunications and electricity is sporadic.
On Monday, all mobile and telephone services were disrupted across Gaza “due to the cutting of the main fiber optic routes by the Israeli side,” according to the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel.
On Tuesday, global network monitoring Netblocks confirmed that Gazans are facing a “total loss of communications”.
The latest fighting followed the collapse last Friday of a Qatar-brokered ceasefire that freed many Israeli and other captives in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Israeli military, at least 137 prisoners are still being held in Gaza, but Hamas has ruled out further releases until a permanent ceasefire is agreed.
The war has fueled fears of a wider regional conflict, with frequent exchanges of fire with Hezbollah on Israel’s border with Lebanon.
On Tuesday, Israel’s military said its warplanes struck Hezbollah positions in response to Monday’s rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel.
The Israeli-occupied West Bank has also seen an explosion of violence, with more than 250 Palestinians killed there since the start of the war, according to Palestinian authorities.
a href=”https://tribune.com.pk/story/2448994/israeli-army-says-jabalia-refugee-camp-in-gaza-surrounded”>Source link