Widespread Israeli Offensive in Gaza Prompts Evacuations

December 4, 2023 By admin Off

The military of Israel has resumed efforts to evacuate the southern town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. Tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge there, and the military has expanded its ground offensive and attacked targets across the region. The purpose is to eliminate Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who launched an attack into Israel on October 7, prompting the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades. The war has killed thousands of Palestinians, displacing over three-fourths of the territory’s population of 2.3 million. The ongoing fighting has transformed much of the north into a rubble-filled wasteland. Around 2 million people are now crowded into Gaza’s 230 square kilometers, and Israel is calling for additional areas to be evacuated, despite the lack of places to go. Residents heard airstrikes and explosions in Khan Younis overnight, and the military has ordered the evacuation of nearly two dozen neighborhoods in and around the town. The military has also warned civilians to avoid the main north-south highway between Khan Younis and the central town of Deir al-Balah, saying the road had become a “battlefield” and was “extremely dangerous.” Israeli tank placements were observed on the road. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army is pursuing “maximum force” in the north and south and is attempting to minimize harm to civilians. However, many Palestinians have refused to evacuate, saying they do not feel any safer in the suggested areas. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the level of human suffering as intolerable and has called for the immediate release of hostages captured by Palestinian terrorists during the October 7 attack. The Health Ministry in Gaza reported that the death toll in the territory has surpassed 15,500, with over 41,000 wounded since October 7. A majority of the victims are women and children. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah received 32 bodies overnight after Israeli strikes in central Gaza. The Israeli military claimed to strike some 200 Hamas targets overnight, with ground troops “operating in parallel.” Israel says it targets Hamas operatives, not civilians, and blames civilian casualties on the terrorists, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods. The U.S. is urging Israel to avoid more mass displacements and the killing of civilians, but it is unclear how far the Biden administration is willing or able to go in pressing Israel. Israel has rejected U.S. suggestions that control over postwar Gaza be handed over to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority as part of renewed efforts to resolve the overall conflict. Hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend.