DEIR AL-BALA, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel's military on Monday renewed calls for a mass evacuation from the southern city of Khan Yunis, where thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in recent weeks. increased its offensive range and bombed targets across the Gaza Strip.
The expanded operations following the end of a week-long ceasefire are aimed at eliminating Gaza's Hamas rulers, whose Attack on Israel on October 7 The deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades erupted. The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced more than three-quarters of the region's population of 2.3 million people, who are running out of safe places to go.
already down Pressure is increasing from his top aideUnited States, Israel appear to be rushing to strike deadly blow against Hamas - if it possible, given the group's deep roots in Palestinian society – before any new ceasefire. But the rising toll in the fighting, which Palestinian health officials say has killed several hundred civilians since a cease-fire ended on Friday, is likely to increase international pressure to return to the negotiating table.
It can also make large parts of an isolated area uninhabitable.
The ground offensive has transformed much of the north, including large areas of Gaza City. in a wasteland full of debris, Hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge in the south, parts of which may face the same fate as Israel and neighboring Egypt Has refused to accept any refugees.
fighting in central Gaza
Residents said on Monday they heard airstrikes and explosions in and around Khan Younis overnight after the army dropped leaflets warning people to move south towards the Egyptian border. The army has ordered the evacuation of about two dozen areas in and around the city.
Later in the day, the army warned civilians to avoid the main north-south highway between Khan Yunis and the central city of Deir al-Balah, saying the road had become a "warzone" and was "extremely dangerous". This indicated that Israeli troops were approaching Khan Yunis from the north-east, possibly with a plan to cut off central Gaza from the south.
Al-Jazeera television broadcast footage of doctors rescuing people injured in a car attack on that stretch of highway. An Israeli tank could be seen just above the road.
Israeli military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the military was pursuing Hamas with "maximum force" in the north and south, adding that it was trying to minimize harm to civilians.
He pointed to a map that divides southern Gaza into dozens of blocks to give residents "exact instructions" on where to evacuate.
However, many Palestinians have ignored previous evacuation orders, saying they do not feel safe in the areas where they have been told to seek shelter – which have also been repeatedly bombed. Meanwhile, the army has stopped people who fled from the north from returning even during the ceasefire.
“The level of human suffering is unbearable,” Mirjana Spoljarić, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said during a rare visit to Gaza. He also called for the immediate release of several hostages taken by Palestinian militants during the October 7 attack.
“It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and no adequate humanitarian response is currently possible with the military siege.”
Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza The death toll in the region since October 7 was said to have reached more than 15,500, while more than 41,000 were injured. The ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children.
A health ministry spokesman claimed hundreds of people had been killed or injured since the ceasefire ended early Friday. "Most of the victims are still in the debris," Ashraf al-Qidra said.
Omar al-Darawi, an administrative staffer, said Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah received 32 bodies overnight following Israeli strikes in central Gaza. Associated Press footage showed women crying, kneeling over the bodies of their loved ones and kissing them.
The military said planes struck about 200 Hamas targets overnight, with ground troops working "in parallel", without elaborating. It said troops in northern Gaza uncovered a terrorist hideout at a school following the attack. Inside, they found two tunnel shafts, one of which was trapped, as well as explosives and weapons, the military said.
It is not possible to independently verify battlefield reports from either side.
Israel says it targets Hamas activists, not civilians, and blames the militants for civilian deaths and accuses them of operating in residential areas.
It says it takes measures to protect citizens. In addition to leaflets dropped on Gaza, the military has used phone calls and radio and TV broadcasts to urge people to move from specific areas.
Israel has claimed to have killed thousands of terrorists without providing any evidence. Israel says that at least 81 of its soldiers have been killed.
The US is pressuring Israel to avoid more mass displacement and killing of civilians, according to a message Underlined by Vice President Kamala Harris During field visits. He also said that the US would not allow the forced relocation of Palestinians out of Gaza or the occupied West Bank or the redrawing of Gaza's borders.
But it is unclear how far the Biden administration is willing or able to go to rein in the aggression against Israel, even if the White House is confronting it. Pressure from its allies is increasing on Congress,
The US has pledged unwavering support to Israel since the October 7 attack, which killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, including providing munitions and other aid to Israel.
israel America's suggestions have been rejected Control over Gaza should be handed over to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority after the war as part of new efforts to resolve the overall conflict by establishing a Palestinian state.
Hopes for another temporary ceasefire faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend. Hamas said talks on the release of several hostages captured by Palestinian militants on October 7 should be linked to a permanent ceasefire.
An earlier ceasefire facilitated the release of 105 of the approximately 240 Israeli and foreign hostages Taken to Gaza during the October 7 offensive and released Israel imprisoned 240 Palestinians, Most of those released by both sides were women and children.
Magee reported from Cairo.
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