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Israel strikes in and round Gaza’s second-largest metropolis in a bloody new part of the battle


A lady mourns her youngster and her husband youngster killed in an Israeli military bombardment of the Gaza Strip, within the hospital in Khan Younis, on December 5, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

Israel intensified its bombardment in and round Gaza’s second-largest metropolis early on December 5, sending ambulances and personal vehicles racing into an area hospital carrying folks wounded in a bloody new part of the battle.

Under the U.S. stress to forestall additional mass casualties, Israel says it’s being extra exact because it widens its offensive into southern Gaza after obliterating a lot of the north — however Palestinians say there are not any areas the place they really feel protected, and plenty of concern that in the event that they depart their houses they may by no means be allowed to return.

Also learn | Making this Israeli-Palestinian battle the final

Aerial bombardment and the bottom offensive have already pushed three-fourths of the territory’s 2.3 million folks from their houses — and new orders to evacuate areas round Khan Younis are squeezing folks into ever-smaller areas of the already tiny coastal strip.

At the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, ambulances introduced dozens of wounded folks in. At one level, a automobile pulled up and a person emerged carrying a younger boy in a bloody shirt, whose hand had been blown off.

“What’s happening here is unimaginable,” mentioned Hamza al-Bursh, who lives within the neighborhood of Maan, one in all a number of in and across the metropolis the place Israel has ordered civilians to go away. “They strike indiscriminately.”

Residents mentioned troops had superior following heavy airstrikes to Bani Suheila, a city simply east of Khan Younis. Halima Abdel-Rahman, who fled to the city earlier within the battle from her house within the north, mentioned they might hear explosions via the evening.

“They are very close,” she mentioned. “It’s the same scenario we saw in the north.”

Satellite images from Sunday confirmed round 150 Israeli tanks, armoured personnel carriers and different automobiles just below 6 kilometres north of the center of town.

Israel ordered the full-scale evacuation of northern Gaza within the early days of the battle and has barred individuals who left from returning. In the south, it has ordered folks out of almost two dozen neighborhoods in and round Khan Younis. That additional lowered the realm the place civilians can search refuge in central and southern Gaza by greater than 1 / 4.

“Nowhere is safe in Gaza, and there is nowhere left to go,” Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, mentioned on Monday. “The conditions required to deliver aid to the people of Gaza do not exist. If possible, an even more hellish scenario is about to unfold.”

Israel says it should dismantle Hamas’ in depth navy infrastructure and take away it from energy in an effort to forestall a repeat of the October 7 assault that ignited the battle. The shock assault via the border fence noticed Hamas and different Palestinian militants kill about 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and seize some 240 males, girls and kids.

The navy says it makes each effort to spare civilians and accuses Hamas of utilizing them as human shields because the militants combat in dense residential areas, the place they’ve labyrinths of tunnels, bunkers, rocket launchers and sniper nests.

Even after weeks of unrelenting bombardment, Hamas’ prime chief in Gaza, Yehya Sinwar, was in a position to conduct advanced cease-fire negotiations and orchestrate the discharge of greater than 100 Israeli and international hostages in trade for 240 Palestinian prisoners final week. Palestinian militants have additionally saved up their rocket fireplace into Israel, each earlier than and after the truce.

The preventing has in the meantime introduced unprecedented loss of life and destruction to the coastal strip.

The Health Ministry in Gaza mentioned the loss of life toll within the territory since October 7 has surpassed 15,890 folks — 70% of them girls and kids — with greater than 42,000 wounded. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths. It says a whole bunch have been killed or wounded because the cease-fire’s finish, and plenty of nonetheless are trapped beneath rubble.

An Israeli military official supplied an analogous determine for the loss of life toll in Gaza on Monday, after weeks wherein Israeli officers had forged doubt on the ministry’s rely. The official mentioned at the very least 15,000 folks have been killed, together with 5,000 militants, with out saying how the navy arrived at its figures. The navy says 86 of its troopers have been killed within the Gaza offensive.

White House nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned Monday that it was too quickly to cross judgment on Israeli operations, however that it was uncommon for a contemporary navy to establish exact areas of anticipated floor maneuvers and ask folks to maneuver out, as Israel has executed in Khan Younis.

“These are the kinds of steps that we have asked them to undertake,” he mentioned.

Leaflets dropped by the Israeli navy over Khan Younis in current days warn folks to move farther south towards the border with Egypt, however they’re unable to go away Gaza, as each Israel and neighbouring Egypt have refused to simply accept any refugees.

The space that Israel ordered evacuated was house to some 1,17,000 folks, and now it additionally homes greater than 50,000 folks displaced from the north, residing in 21 shelters, the UN mentioned. It was not identified what number of have been fleeing.

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