On Sunday, Israeli tanks penetrated the heart of Khan Yunus, launching a major new attack in the south of the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Hamas to “lay down its weapons immediately,” saying it has seen numerous surrenders in recent days that herald the “beginning of the end” of the Palestinian terrorist organization.
Thick clouds of white smoke from the explosion hung over Khan Yunus on Sunday morning. Tanks reached the city center. A continuous roar of machine gun fire could be heard near the police station in the city center.
“The toughest battle we’ve had in weeks.”
“It was one of the most terrible nights, the resistance was very strong, we heard shots and explosions that didn’t stop for hours,” the father of four children displaced from Gaza City and hiding in Khan Yunus told Reuters. For fear of reprisals, he refused to reveal his identity.
“I think this is the hardest battle we’ve had in weeks,” added Nasser, 59, a father of seven children who sought refuge in Jabaliya after his home in Beit Lahija was destroyed.
General secretary UN Antonio Guterres, who has called unsuccessfully for a ceasefire in Gaza, said the enclave was in a state of collapse. – It could be even worse. Epidemic diseases and increased pressure for mass displacement should be expected Egypt – he said.
– Over the past few days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered to our forces. They laid down their weapons and surrendered themselves into the hands of our brave fighters, said Netanyahu, quoted by the Times of website Israel.
– It will take more time, the war is still in full swing, but this is the beginning of the end of Hamas – added the head of government.
– I tell the Hamas terrorists: it’s over. Don’t die for (your leader Yahya) Sinwar. Surrender now! – Netanyahu called.
The Ministry of Health in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip reported on Sunday that the death toll from the war with Israel has risen to at least 17,997 on the Palestinian territory, including 297 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, and a retaliatory operation by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip is currently underway.
Main photo source: EPA/MOHAMMED SABER