Thousands of Palestinian civilians in the north of Gaza fled their homes to escape Israeli air strikes and intense ground fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants. Israel had announced a four-hour window for residents to evacuate the north or risk being trapped in the violence. However, the central and southern parts of Gaza also came under fire. Palestinian health officials reported casualties from air strikes in the Nusseirat refugee camp and Khan Younis. Witnesses described the destruction caused by the air strikes, with civilians, including elderly individuals, killed and others still missing under the rubble.
Gaza City, the main stronghold of Hamas, is now surrounded by Israeli forces. The military stated that troops have advanced into the densely-populated city, while Hamas claims to have inflicted heavy losses on Israeli fighters. Israeli combat engineers are using explosive devices to destroy Hamas’ extensive tunnel network beneath Gaza. The military reported that 130 tunnel shafts have been destroyed so far. Air strikes have also targeted Hamas fighters and weapons makers.
Israeli tanks have faced resistance from Hamas fighters using the tunnels to stage ambushes. The war has resulted in the deaths of 33 Israeli soldiers. Calls for a humanitarian pause in the hostilities have increased from U.N. officials and G7 nations. The suffering of civilians in Gaza, where buildings have been flattened and basic supplies are running out, is described as “hard to fathom” by a U.N. health agency spokesperson.
Palestinian officials reported that the death toll has reached 10,569, with 40% of the victims being children. The conflict between Israel and Hamas began in response to a cross-border raid by Hamas on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,400 people and the taking of hostages. This war has become the bloodiest episode in the long-standing Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Thousands of Palestinians from the north of Gaza made their way south, seeking refuge from the ongoing violence. Displaced people are already overcrowded in schools, hospitals, and other sites in the south. Many others remain trapped in the encircled north, including those sheltering in Gaza City’s main hospital. The situation is dire, with a lack of food, water, and basic supplies.
Israel’s objective is to eliminate Hamas, using air, land, and sea attacks. The media reported clashes between militants and Israeli forces in Gaza City. The fate of Yahya Sinwar, the senior Hamas leader believed to be a key planner of the initial attacks, remains uncertain. Israelis fear for the hostages taken during the raid and held in the tunnels. Israel insists on their release before agreeing to a ceasefire, while Hamas refuses to stop fighting while Gaza is under attack.
The United Nations warns that Gaza’s health system is on the verge of collapse, with shortages of medicines and fuel. G7 foreign ministers have called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting, emphasizing the need to protect civilians and follow international humanitarian law. The G7 statement also reaffirms the importance of a two-state solution for a just and lasting peace. However, the peace process has been stagnant since 2014.
Israel has stated that it does not intend to reoccupy or control the Gaza Strip for an extended period. The ongoing operations are deemed effective and successful, with no unlimited or permanent commitment. The United Nations and G7 nations continue to advocate for a cessation of hostilities and the alleviation of the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.
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