KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel said Tuesday that its ground forces are battling Hamas militants deep inside Gaza’s largest city. A great new level During the month-long conflict, its leaders foresaw control of the enclave’s defenses after the war.
The push into Gaza City guarantees that the already shocking death toll will rise further, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about controlling Gaza’s security hinted at an uncertain endgame for what Israel says is a war.
The Israelis remembered 30th Day – A Milestone of Jewish Mourning – Since Hamas Militants Killed 1,400 October 7 riots in southern Israel That sparked the war. About 240 people abducted by Hamas remain in Gaza during the offensive, and more than 250,000 Israelis have evacuated their homes near the borders of Gaza and Lebanon amid continued rocket fire into Israel.
A month of relentless bombing in Gaza has killed more than 10,300 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minors. Ministry of Health in Hamas-run territory. More than 2,300 people are believed to have been buried by the strikes, which reduced entire city blocks to rubble. 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes, and more than 700,000 of them are crammed into shelters converted into UN schools. Civilians in Gaza rely on aid and find their own daily food Food and water From supplies depleted after a week of siege.
Israeli ground forces have been fighting Palestinian militants inside Gaza for more than a week, cutting the enclave in half and encircling it. Gaza City. Chief Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeli ground forces are “now in ground operations deep inside Gaza City and putting enormous pressure on Hamas.”
In an interview with ABC News that aired late Monday, Netanyahu said the military had killed several thousand Hamas fighters since the war began. The Gaza Health Ministry’s death toll doesn’t distinguish between civilians and fighters — and doesn’t include slain fighters who weren’t brought to hospitals.
Flee from the South
Israel unleashed another wave of attacks across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday And hundreds of Palestinians fled Gaza City towards the south.
Some came in donkey carts, most on foot, some pushing elderly relatives in wheelchairs, and all looked exhausted. Many have nothing but the clothes on their backs. “There is no food or drink, people are fighting in the bakeries,” said one person who did not want to be named.
Hundreds of thousands have heeded Israeli orders to move to southern Gaza out of the path of the ground offensive. Others fear doing so because Israeli troops control part of the north-south route.
But the bombing continued in the south.
The Israeli Air Force destroyed several houses in Khan Yunis early Tuesday morning. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw first responders pull five bodies — including three dead children — from the rubble. As a man carried the bloodied young woman, she cried until a rescue worker removed her from his arms, saying, “Let her go, let her go” to take her to an ambulance.
AP video from a nearby hospital showed a woman frantically searching for her son, then crying and kissing him when she found him, half-naked and bloody but apparently without serious injuries. A woman lay crying next to a child on a stretcher, apparently dead.
“We were sleeping, babies, children, old people,” said one survivor, Ahmed al-Najjar, who is director general of the Ministry of Education in Gaza.
In the city of Deir al-Balah, rescuers pulled at least four dead and several injured children from the rubble of a collapsed building, witnesses said. “My daughter,” said a woman running after them.
Israel says it targets Hamas fighters and infrastructure and accuses them of endangering civilians by operating among them.
At a school in Khan Yunis, thousands of displaced people were living in classrooms and a playground. One of them, Suhaila Al-Najjar, said the past month was full of sleepless nights.
“What’s coming? How shall we live? Bakeries are closed, no gas. What shall we eat?” she said.
Israel to maintain control
Israel has vowed to remove Hamas from power and crush its military capabilities — but neither Israel nor its key ally, the United States, has said so What comes next.
Netanyahu told ABC News that Gaza should be ruled by “people who don’t want to follow the path of Hamas.”
“I think Israel will have overall security responsibility, indefinitely, because we’ve seen what happens when it doesn’t. “When we didn’t have that security responsibility, Hamas terrorism exploded on a scale we never imagined,” he said.
Netanyahu did not clarify what form the security crackdown would take. US officials have advised Israel not to reoccupy Gaza.
Israeli officials say the offensive against Hamas will last for some time and have not yet laid out a concrete plan for what will happen after the war. The defense minister said Israel did not seek a long-term reoccupation of Gaza, but predicted a low-intensity long-term struggle against “pockets of resistance”. Other officials talked about establishing a buffer zone that would keep Palestinians away from the Israeli border.
“Many options are being discussed after Hamas,” said Ofir Falk, a senior adviser to Netanyahu. “The common denominator of all the plans is that 1) there is no Hamas 2) Gaza is militarized and 3) Gaza is destroyed.”
Israel withdrew troops and settlers in 2005, but Gaza’s airspace, coastline, Population Register and border crossings, except for one in Egypt. Hamas seized power in 2007 from forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, limiting his Palestinian Authority to parts of the occupied West Bank. Since then, Israel and Egypt have imposed varying degrees of blockade on Gaza.
In his ABC interview, Netanyahu for the first time openly called for “short pauses” in the fight for aid to Gaza or the release of hostages. But he ruled out any general ceasefire without the release of all hostages.
Heavy fighting in the north
For now, Israel’s troops are focused on northern Gaza, including Gaza City, which was home to about 650,000 people before the war. Israel claims that Hamas has an extensive militant infrastructure within the residential areas Extensive subway network.
The military says 30 Israeli troops have been in Gaza since the ground offensive began, killing thousands of Hamas fighters.
Several hundred thousand people are believed to be staying in the north in the path of the attack.
Residents of northern Gaza reported heavy fighting on the outskirts of Gaza City from Tuesday morning to night. Shadi Refugee Camp – A built-up district settlement Refugees of the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel and their descendants – Residents reported heavy blasts for the past two days.
The war has also fueled wider tensions Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group trade fire At the border. More than 160 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the start of the war, mainly during gunfights with Israeli forces during violent protests and arrest raids.
Hundreds of people Trucks carrying aid They have been allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt since October 21. But humanitarian workers say aid falls far short of growing needs. of Egypt The Rafah Crossing was also opened Hundreds of foreign passport holders and medical patients must be allowed to leave Gaza.
Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Amy Diebel in Jerusalem contributed.
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