The Israeli offensive has shifted to crowded southern Gaza, defying evacuation orders and increasing the death toll

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel struck targets in the congested southern Gaza Strip on Saturday and ordered the evacuation of several areas designated for strikes, raising the death toll even as the United States and others urged it to do more. To protect the citizens of Gaza.

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed so far Fighting resumed on Friday morning According to the health ministry in Gaza, following a week-long ceasefire with the territory’s ruling militant group, Hamas.

Separately, Israel-Hamas announced that the overall death toll in Gaza since the Oct. 7 start of the war has surpassed 15,200, a sharp increase from the previous figure of more than 13,300. Following war-related disruptions in transport and hospital operations, Nov. On the 11th, the ministry stopped publishing daily updates of the overall count.

The ministry did not distinguish between civilians and militants, but said on Saturday that 70% of the dead were women and children. Over 40,000 people have been injured in the past two months.

With the temporary ceasefire breaking down, its closest ally, the US, has urged Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians.

The appeal came after air and ground attacks devastated large swaths of northern Gaza in the first weeks of the war, killing thousands of Palestinians and displacing hundreds of thousands. Some 2 million Palestinians, almost the entire population of Gaza, are now crowded into the southern part of the territory.

It is unclear whether Israel’s military will heed Friday’s pleas for more surgical strikes by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai on Saturday that while he acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself, it had “no right to attack civilians”.

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The Israeli military said Saturday it had hit more than 400 Hamas targets across Gaza in the past day, using airstrikes and shelling from tanks and naval gunboats. This included more than 50 strikes in Khan Younis city and surrounding areas in southern Gaza.

Many houses and buildings were hit. At least nine people, including three children, were killed in the strike on a house in the southern city of Deir al-Bala, according to the hospital where the bodies were taken. The hospital also received the bodies of seven others killed in overnight airstrikes, including two children.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza said they fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel. Sirens were heard in communities near the Gaza Strip, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

As fighting resumed, the military released an online map carving up the Gaza Strip into hundreds of numbered parcels and asked residents to know their location’s parcel number ahead of evacuation warnings.

On Saturday, the military used the map for the first time, listing two dozen parcel numbers in areas around Gaza City to the north and east of Khan Younis. Separately, the army dropped leaflets with evacuation orders on towns east of Khan Yunis.

Maps and pamphlets created panic, fear and confusion, especially in the overcrowded South. Their only escape was to move around the 220-square-kilometer (85-square-mile) area, unable to return to northern Gaza or neighboring Egypt.

“There is nowhere to go,” said Emat Hajar, who sought refuge in Khan Yunis with his wife and three children a month ago from the northern city of Beit Lahiya. “They are drove us out of the northNow they are forcing us to leave the South.”

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Amal Radwan, who took refuge in the urban Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, said he was not aware of such a map, adding that he and many others in the shelter were unable to leave because of the incessant shelling. “We will not leave,” she said, “here is death and death.”

Amjad Abu Taha, a Palestinian teacher from Gaza City, accused Israel of trying to deceive the world by suggesting an opportunity for Gaza residents to seek safety. “But everyone knows that no place in Gaza is safe,” he said.

Israel says it is targeting Hamas operatives and accuses militants of operating in residential areas, blaming civilian casualties. Israel says 77 soldiers killed in ground attack in northern Gaza It claims to have killed thousands of terrorists without evidence.

Renewed hostilities have also escalated 136 Hostage concerns According to the Israeli military, 105 people are still being held by Hamas and other militants after being released During the ceasefire.

For the families of the remaining hostages, the collapse of the ceasefire was a blow to hope that their loved ones could be next, days after they saw others freed. A 70-year-old woman held by Hamas was pronounced dead on Saturday, according to her kibbutz, bringing the total number of dead hostages to eight.

During the ceasefire, Israel released 240 Palestinians from its prisons. Most of those freed from both sides were women and children.

The war began After the October 7 attack By Hamas and other militants, He killed about 1,200 peopleMostly civilians, in southern Israel and about 240 were taken prisoner.

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US Vice President Kamala Harris was in Dubai on Saturday For the COP28 climate conference, according to the White House, was expected to outline proposals with regional leaders to “put Palestinian voices at the center” of planning next steps for the Gaza Strip after the conflict. President Joe Biden’s administration has been emphasizing the need for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

On the sidelines of the conference, he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Harris reiterated that the United States will not allow the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, the blockade of the territory, or the redrawing of its borders.

Blinken has previously spoken publicly about these parameters.

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Magdy reports from Cairo, Rising from Bangkok. Associated Press writer Julia Frankel in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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Full AP coverage https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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