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Israel battles militants in Gaza’s important cities, with civilians nonetheless stranded close to entrance strains

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RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants in Gaza’s two largest cities on Monday, with civilians nonetheless sheltering alongside the entrance strains even after huge waves of displacement throughout the besieged territory.

Israel has pledged to maintain preventing till it removes Hamas from energy, dismantles its navy capabilities and returns all the scores of hostages nonetheless held by Palestinian militants after being captured through the Oct. 7 shock assault into Israel that ignited the warfare.

The U.S. has offered unwavering diplomatic and navy help for the marketing campaign, even because it has urged Israel to reduce civilian casualties and additional mass displacement. The warfare has killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians and pushed almost 85% of the territory’s 2.3 million individuals from their properties.

Residents stated there was heavy preventing in and across the southern metropolis of Khan Younis, the place Israeli floor forces opened a brand new line of assault final week, and battles had been nonetheless underway in elements of Gaza Metropolis and the built-up Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, the place giant areas have been lowered to rubble.

“The scenario is extraordinarily tough,” stated Hussein al-Sayyed, who’s staying with relations in Khan Younis after fleeing Gaza Metropolis earlier within the warfare. “I’ve kids and I don’t know the place to go. No place is protected.”

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He and his three daughters are staying in a three-story house with round 70 others, most of whom have fled from the north, and stated they’ve been rationing meals for days. “Over many days, I’ve eaten only one meal a day to save lots of meals for the ladies. They’re nonetheless younger,” he stated.

One other Khan Younis resident, Radwa Abu Frayeh, witnessed heavy Israeli strikes across the European Hospital, the place the U.N. humanitarian workplace says tens of hundreds of individuals have sought shelter. She stated a strike hit a house near hers late Sunday.

“The constructing shook,” she stated. “We thought it was the tip and we’d die.”

With little or no help allowed in, Palestinians face extreme shortages of meals, water and different fundamental items. Some observers overtly fear that Palestinians shall be compelled out of Gaza altogether in a repeat of the mass exodus from what’s now Israel through the 1948 warfare surrounding its creation.

“Count on public order to utterly break down quickly, and a good worse scenario may unfold together with epidemic illnesses and elevated stress for mass displacement into Egypt,” U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres informed a discussion board in Qatar, a key middleman, on Sunday.

Eylon Levy, an Israeli authorities spokesman, known as allegations that Israeli intends mass displacement from Gaza “outrageous and false.” However different Israeli officers have mentioned such a situation, elevating alarm in Egypt and different pleasant Arab nations that refuse to just accept any refugees.

On the similar time, it isn’t clear when or if Palestinians could be allowed to return to Gaza Metropolis and far of the north — house to some 1.2 million earlier than the warfare — the place whole neighborhoods have been flattened.

The preventing in and round Khan Younis threatens to carry comparable destruction to the south, and has already pushed tens of hundreds towards the city of Rafah and different areas alongside the border with Egypt. It has additionally hindered the supply of humanitarian help to most of Gaza, placing much more stress on individuals to move south.

Israel says it tries to keep away from harming civilians and blames their deaths on Hamas, saying it endangers residents by preventing in dense areas and positioning navy infrastructure — together with weapons, tunnels and rocket launchers — in or close to civilian buildings.

The navy stated Sunday that troops killed armed males as they left a clinic, and that forces working in Jabaliya discovered a truck stuffed with long-range rockets close to a college. In a house in Jabaliya, troopers discovered a rifle, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers and explosives, it stated.

Israel has urged individuals to flee to what it says are protected areas within the south however has continued to strike alleged militant targets all through the territory. Related Press reporters noticed 9 our bodies delivered to a neighborhood hospital on Monday after an airstrike hit a house in Rafah in a single day.

The help group Medical doctors With out Borders stated individuals within the south are additionally falling unwell as they pack into crowded shelters or sleep in tents in open areas.

Nicholas Papachrysostomou, MSF emergency coordinator in Gaza, stated “each different affected person” at a clinic in Rafah has a respiratory an infection after extended publicity to chilly and rain.

“In some shelters, 600 individuals share a single bathroom. We’re already seeing many {cases} of diarrhea. Usually kids are the worst affected,” he stated.

With the warfare in its third month, the Palestinian dying toll in Gaza has surpassed 17,900, the bulk ladies and youngsters, in keeping with the Well being Ministry within the Hamas-controlled territory. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths.

Some 1,200 individuals have been killed on the Israeli facet, largely civilians killed through the Oct. 7 assault, through which Hamas and different militants additionally captured greater than 240 individuals, together with infants, ladies and older adults. Greater than 100 captives had been launched throughout a weeklong cease-fire late final month in exchanges for ladies and minors held in Israeli prisons.

Israel says Hamas nonetheless has 117 hostages and the stays of 20 individuals killed in captivity or through the Oct. 7 assault. Most remaining hostages are troopers and civilian males, and the militants hope to trade them for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The navy says 101 Israeli troopers have died because the begin of the Gaza floor offensive. Palestinian militants have continued firing rockets at Israel, although the overwhelming majority have been intercepted or landed in open areas with out inflicting casualties or injury.


Magdy reported from Cairo. Related Press author Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel contributed.


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

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