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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Israeli offensive shifts to crowded southern Gaza, driving up demise toll regardless of evacuation orders

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KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Israel pounded targets in crowded southern Gaza on Saturday and ordered extra neighborhoods designated for assault to evacuate, driving up the demise toll whilst the USA and others urged it to do extra to guard civilians a day after a truce collapsed.

The prospect of additional cease-fires in Gaza appeared bleak, as Israel recalled its negotiators and Hamas’ deputy chief stated any additional swap of Gaza-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel would solely occur as a part of ending the warfare.

“We’ll proceed the warfare till we obtain all its objectives, and it’s unattainable to attain these objectives with out the bottom operation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in an tackle Saturday evening.

A minimum of 200 Palestinians have been killed because the preventing resumed Friday morning following the weeklong truce with the territory’s ruling militant group Hamas, in response to the Well being Ministry in Gaza. A number of multi-story residential buildings had been hit on Saturday, engulfing neighborhoods in large clouds of smoke.

Individually, the ministry stated the general demise toll in Gaza because the Oct. 7 begin of the warfare had surpassed 15,200, a pointy soar from the earlier depend of greater than 13,300 on Nov. 20. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants, nevertheless it stated 70% of the {dead} had been ladies and youngsters. It stated greater than 40,000 folks had been wounded because the warfare started.

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“Too many harmless Palestinians have been killed. Frankly, the size of civilian struggling and the photographs and movies coming from Gaza are devastating,” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris instructed reporters throughout the the COP28 local weather convention in Dubai.

Appeals from the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, to guard civilians got here after an offensive within the first weeks of the warfare devastated massive areas of northern Gaza. Some 2 million Palestinians, virtually Gaza’s total inhabitants, are actually crammed into the territory’s southern half.

Israel’s navy stated it had hit greater than 400 Hamas targets throughout Gaza over the previous day, together with over 50 in Khan Younis metropolis and surrounding areas within the south.

Palestinian Crimson Crescent spokesman Mahmoud Basal instructed broadcaster Al-Jazeera that there have been greater than 300 “martyrs” in Gaza Metropolis’s Shujaia neighborhood and that houses had been flattened. Israel’s navy stated it killed Hamas’ Shujaia battalion commander however gave no particulars on the operation. Residents couldn’t be reached.

In northern Gaza, an airstrike flattened a constructing internet hosting households within the city refugee camp of Jabaliya on Gaza Metropolis’s outskirts. It left dozens {dead} or wounded, stated residents Hamza Obeid and Amal Radwan.

“The constructing became a pile of rubble,” Obeid stated. AP video confirmed smoke rising as males, some in sandals, picked their manner over particles. The Israeli navy confirmed it was working in Jabaliya and stated it had discovered and destroyed Hamas tunnels within the surrounding space.

And a strong strike hit a cluster of multi-story buildings in Hamad Metropolis, a Qatari-funded housing improvement on the outskirts of Khan Younis. Smoke engulfed the advanced. There was no rapid phrase on casualties.

“The place is it protected? I swear to God, nobody is aware of, the place are we going?” requested Zohair al Raai, who stated his household acquired a recorded message saying their constructing ought to evacuate.

Additionally within the south, at the very least 9 folks, together with three youngsters, had been killed in a strike on a home in Deir al-Balah, in response to the hospital the place our bodies had been taken.

In the meantime, Palestinian militant teams in Gaza stated they fired a barrage of rockets on southern Israel. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesperson, stated Hamas had launched greater than 250 because the cease-fire ended. There have been no rapid studies accidents.

With the resumption of preventing, the Israeli navy revealed a web based map carving up Gaza into a whole lot of numbered parcels and requested residents to familiarize themselves with the variety of their location forward of evacuation warnings.

On Saturday, the navy listed greater than two dozen parcel numbers round Gaza Metropolis and east of Khan Younis. Individually, it dropped leaflets with evacuation orders over cities east of Khan Younis.

One Khan Younis resident stated a neighbor acquired a name from the Israeli military warning that homes within the space could be hit. “We instructed them, ‘Now we have nothing right here, why do you wish to strike it?’” stated the resident, Hikmat al-Qidra. Al-Qidra stated the home was destroyed.

The maps and leaflets generated panic and confusion, particularly within the crowded south. Unable to go to northern Gaza or neighboring Egypt, their solely escape is to maneuver round inside the 220-square-kilometer (85-square-mile) space.

“There isn’t any place to go,” stated Emad Hajar, who fled to Khan Younis a month in the past. “They expelled us from the north, and now they’re pushing us to go away the south.”

Mark Regev, a senior advisor to Netanyahu, stated Israel was making “most effort” to guard civilians and the navy has used leafleting, telephone calls, and radio and TV broadcasts to induce Gazans to maneuver from particular areas.

Regev added that Israel is contemplating a future safety buffer zone that will not permit Gazans direct entry to the border fence on foot.

Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of working in residential neighborhoods. It claims to have killed 1000’s of militants, with out offering proof. Israel says 77 of its troopers have been killed within the offensive in northern Gaza.

Additionally Saturday, the Palestinian Crimson Crescent stated it had acquired the primary convoy of support vehicles by way of the Rafah crossing with Egypt since preventing resumed. Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority, stated 100 vehicles entered together with three carrying 150,000 liters (almost 40,000 gallons) of gas.

In the meantime the U.S. vice chairman stated in a gathering with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi that “not at all” would the USA allow the compelled relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Financial institution, an ongoing siege of Gaza or redrawing of its borders, in response to a U.S. abstract.

The Oct. 7 assault by Hamas and different militants killed about 1,200 folks, largely civilians, in southern Israel. Round 240 folks had been taken captive.

The renewed hostilities have heightened issues for 137 hostages who, in response to the Israeli navy, are nonetheless held after 105 had been freed throughout the truce. A 70-year-old lady held by Hamas was declared {dead} on Saturday, in response to her kibbutz, bringing the variety of recognized {dead} hostages to eight.

At a rally of tens of 1000’s in Tel Aviv, launched hostages referred to as for the remainder to be freed. In a video tackle, Yaffa Adar, 85, spoke up particularly for youngsters being held, saying, “I wish to see them now — not after I’m in a coffin.”

Hamas and Israel differed on who was nonetheless being held.

Hamas’ deputy chief, Saleh Arouri, instructed Al-Jazeera that any remaining hostages are males, “all of whom served within the (Israeli) military.” That contradicted one other high Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, who instructed The Related Press on Friday the group was keen to commerce extra hostages however rebuffed an Israeli demand to launch 10 feminine troopers.

Israel’s Protection Minister Yoav Gallant stated Hamas violated the truce settlement by refusing to return two youngsters and 15 ladies.

Throughout the truce, Israel freed 240 Palestinians. Most of these launched by either side had been ladies and youngsters.


Mroue reported from Beirut and Anna reported from New York. Related Press writers Julia Frankel and Iris Samuels in Jerusalem contributed to this report.


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

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