Israel-Hamas war: Palestinians crowd into shrinking areas in Gaza


RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) - Desperate Palestinians fleeing Israel expansion of ground attack Crowds gathered in the ever-shrinking Gaza Strip on Friday as the Israel-Hamas war entered its third month. The United Nations warned that its aid operation has "fallen into disrepair" as no place in the besieged area is safe.

Israel's military attack on Gaza, a small, densely populated areaThis resulted in massive civilian casualties and mass displacement, causing international concern.

The Israeli military said on Friday that the force had attacked some 450 targets in the Gaza Strip from the air, sea and land the previous day, a sign of the continued intensity of its campaign. Palestinian TV stations reported air strikes on various parts of the area.

"The airstrikes and random artillery shelling have continued in intensity since last night until this morning," said journalist Hassan al-Najjar, speaking by phone from northern Gaza.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a rarely used power Arab and predominantly Muslim countries have called for a vote on Friday on a council resolution to warn the Security Council of an impending "humanitarian catastrophe", and to demand an immediate ceasefire.

It appears that the United States, Israel's closest ally, may block any UN effort to stop the fighting, which was triggered by the deadly incident. 7 October attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel. Nevertheless, US concern over the catastrophe is growing. US officials days ago told Israel it should limit civilian deaths and displacement before expanding its ground offensive into southern Gaza, saying it had killed scores of Palestinians in its offensive. destroyed most of Gaza city and surrounding areas in the north.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a call with Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer that the number of casualties was still very high, a senior State Department official said. Blinken told Dermer that Israel should do more to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. The official spoke on condition of anonymity about private diplomatic discussions.

Israel says it must crush the military capabilities of Hamas, which rules Gaza, and remove it from power after the group's October 7 attack.

The first phase of the war focused on Israel's air and ground operations. northern part of gaza, causing hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to the south. Intense fighting continued in parts of the north in recent days, while troops there have captured hundreds of Palestinian men.

In photos and video published Thursday, dozens of people are seen sitting in rows on a street in northern Gaza, stripped to their underwear and with their heads bowed as they are protected by Israeli soldiers.

These photographs were the first to depict such detention in wartime. Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said troops have detained and interrogated hundreds of people suspected of terrorist ties in Gaza. UN monitors said soldiers reportedly detained men and boys as young as 15 at a school-shelter in the city of Beit Lahiya in the north.

A dramatic incident also took place during the war Increase in deadly military raids and increased restrictions on Palestinian residents in the occupied West Bank. israeli army stormed a refugee camp Six Palestinians were killed in a battle with local gunmen in the West Bank on Friday to arrest suspected Palestinian militants, health officials said. The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment on the operation.

In the past week, Israeli forces expanded their ground offensive into southern Gaza, focusing on Khan Yunis, the territory's second-largest city.

On Friday, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Israel's air force struck a house opposite the society's office in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. It did not give details about casualties.

Medhat Abbas, a spokesman for the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, reported the attack in the central Gaza city of Deir al-Balah, saying several people were killed and wounded, but he did not give an exact number.

The army says it makes every effort to protect civilians and accuses Hamas of using them as human shields as militants fight into densely populated residential areas.

Due to the military offensive across the Gaza Strip, thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting packed into the border town of Rafahin the far south of the Gaza Strip, and Muwasi, a nearby strip of barren beach that Israel has declared a safe zone.

With shelters well beyond capacity, many people set up tents along the road leading from Rafah to Muwasi.

The UN humanitarian affairs section said, "Humanitarian actors... are reporting overcrowded conditions and a lack of basic resources in Rafah."

It said the ability of UN aid agencies to get vital aid supplies had been "significantly impaired" over the past few days due to trucks and staff becoming trapped in fighting and telecommunications blackouts.

"We have no humanitarian operation in southern Gaza that can be called that anymore," UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned on Thursday. The pace of Israel's military offensive “has left no safe space for civilians in southern Gaza, which was the cornerstone of the humanitarian plan to protect civilians and thus provide them with assistance.” But without security locations, that plan is in jeopardy.”

Israel has designated Muwasi, located on the Mediterranean coast of the region. a safe area For those seeking protection from the fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas terrorists. But the United Nations and relief agencies have called it a poorly planned solution.

Israel's campaign in Gaza has killed more than 17,100 people – 70% of them women and children – and wounded more than 46,000, according to the territory's health ministry, which says many more are trapped under debris. Are. The ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths.

Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 240 hostage in the October 7 attack. An estimated 138 hostages remain in Gaza, mostly soldiers and civilians, with more than 100 freed, most of whom were freed during a ceasefire last month.

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Maroué contributed from Beirut and Bekatoros from Athens, Greece. Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed.

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