Israel-Hamas war: Israel continues to attack Gaza, including areas it has told civilians to flee


RAFA, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed parts of the Gaza Strip overnight, prompting Palestinians to evacuate to the south of the territory.

The latest attacks came a day after the United States vetoed united nations resolution There are calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, despite being supported by the majority of Security Council members and many other countries. The vote in the 15-member council was 13-1, with the United Kingdom abstaining.

"The attacks from air, land and sea are intense, sustained and widespread," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said before the vote. Gaza residents are being asked to "walk like human pinballs – wandering between small pieces of the south, without any of the basics to survive."

Guterres told the council that Gaza is at "breaking point" with the humanitarian aid system in danger of completely collapsing, and he fears "the consequences could be catastrophic for the security of the entire region."

Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt have been effectively sealed, leaving Palestinians with no option but to try to seek refuge within the territory. The total number of deaths in Gaza since the beginning of the war has reached more than 17,400, the majority of whom are women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its counting. Is.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian deaths and accuses militants of using civilians as human shields, and says it made great efforts with its evacuation orders to move civilians out of harm's way. Have done.

On Saturday, Gaza residents reported airstrikes and shelling in the northern part of the Strip as well as in the south, including the city. Rafa, Which is located near the Egyptian border and where the Israeli army had ordered the citizens to evacuate.

The health ministry said on Saturday morning that the main hospital in the central city of Deir al-Balah had received the bodies of 71 people killed in bombings in the region over the past 24 hours. The ministry said the hospital also received 160 injured. The ministry said the bodies of 62 people and 99 other injured people were taken to Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Yunis in the past 24 hours.

Israel is trying to secure the military's hold on northern Gaza, where fierce fighting has underlined the overwhelming resistance of the region's Hamas rulers. Thousands of residents are believed to remain in the area despite evacuation orders, six weeks after troops and tanks arrived during the war waged by Hamas. deadly October 7 raid Targeting civilians in Israel.

The Hamas attack killed approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 240 hostages. Hostages and Palestinian prisoners were released under a temporary ceasefire, but more than 130 hostages are believed to remain in Gaza.

More than 2,200 Palestinians have been killed since the ceasefire broke down on December 1, according to Gaza's health ministry, about two-thirds of whom are women and children.

Despite growing international pressure, the Biden administration remains opposed to an open ceasefire, arguing that it would enable Hamas to survive and pose a threat to Israel. Officials have expressed concerns about a rising civilian death toll and a serious humanitarian crisis in recent days, but have not publicly pressured Israel to end the war, now in its third month.

"We haven't given Israel any specific deadline, that's not really our role," Deputy National Security Adviser John Finer said at a security forum a day before the U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council. "That said, we have influence, even if we don't have ultimate control over what happens on the ground in Gaza."

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant argued that the ceasefire would be a victory for Hamas. "The ceasefire is rewarding Hamas, freeing the hostages in Gaza and sending a signal to terrorist groups everywhere," he said. "Stand with Israel in our mission – we are fighting for our future, and we are fighting for the free world."

A delegation of foreign ministers from Arab countries and Turkey was in Washington to pressure the Biden administration to drop its objections to an immediate ceasefire. Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday that Israel's bombardment and siege of Gaza is a war crime and is destabilizing the region.

As fighting resumed after a brief ceasefire more than a week ago, the US urged Israel to do more to protect civilians and deliver more aid to besieged Gaza. The appeals came as Israel expanded its coercive air and ground campaign into southern Gaza, particularly the southern town of Khan Yunis, causing thousands to flee.

"Like every night, it was a night of heavy firing and shelling," Khan Younis resident Taha Abdel-Rahman said by phone early Saturday.

Gaza's civil defense department said at least one person was killed and others injured in an airstrike on a family home in Rafah late Friday.

The department posted photos showing first responders and residents using flashlights and cell phone lights to search for possible survivors. A crane was seen removing debris, while rescue workers cut iron pillars between the collapsed concrete roofs.

Air strikes were reported overnight in the Nussirat refugee camp, where resident Omar Abu Mogaji said the attack hit a family home, causing casualties.

Airstrikes and shelling also occurred in Gaza City and other northern parts of the Strip.

"This is a routine," Mohammed Abed, who lives in Gaza City's Zaytoun neighborhood, said of the bombing. “You have only one choice: go away or they will kill you. “This is the situation in the entire north.”

Israel has designated a narrow section of barren coastline in the south, Muwasi, as a safe zone. But Palestinians who visited there painted a grim picture of extremely overcrowded conditions, with little shelter and poor sanitation facilities.

“We haven't seen anything good here. We are living in severe cold here. There are no bathrooms. We are sleeping on the sand,” said Soad Karmout, a Palestinian woman who was forced to leave her home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

"I'm a cancer patient," Karmut said late Friday night as the children huddled around a wood fire for warmth. “There is no mattress for me to sleep. I am sleeping on the sand. it's so cold."

Imad al-Talateni, a displaced man from Gaza City, said the area lacks basic services to accommodate the growing number of displaced families.

“I lack everything to feel like a human being,” he said, adding that his life before the war in Gaza City was peaceful and comfortable.

“I am not safe here,” he said. “I live here in a desert. There is no gas, no water. The water we drink is polluted water.”

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Magdi reported from Cairo and Bekatoros from Athens, Greece.

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