Israeli ground forces clashed with Hamas troops in the northern Gaza Strip at night, the Israeli army said on Thursday. CNN estimates that Israel is leading the attack using tanks, making progress in several directions. The station reports that troops are being gathered in the northern part of the enclave. Meanwhile, according to the UN, Israeli attacks on a Palestinian refugee camp could constitute a war crime.
The Israeli army, in a statement quoted by the Times of Israel, said that its units conducted “prolonged fighting” at night with the support of artillery and tanks. “As a result of the fighting, several dozen terrorists were killed,” the statement said. The army continued to shell Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip, including weapons warehouses and factories, missile and drone launch sites.
Israel tightens the siege ring around Gaza
CNN, based on recordings published by the Israeli army and on social media, estimates that troops are moving across the border in several directions. The attack continues from the north-west of the Gaza Strip, as well as from the north-east and near the city of Beit Hanoun. A map published by CNN shows that the encirclement ring around Gaza City is close to closing.
CNN crews in Israel note the buildup of Israeli troops east and northeast of the Gaza Strip, as well as the growing number of military vehicles moving inside the Strip, which indicates – according to journalists – that ground operations will expand.
Last Friday, the Israeli army expanded its operation in the Gaza Strip, reiterating its recommendation to evacuate Palestinian civilians from the northern part of the territory, including Gaza City, to the south of the strip. According to the Israeli military, Hamas fighters are hiding in a vast network of tunnels under densely populated residential areas.
ISW about the situation in Israel
As noted by the Institute for War Studies, the Al Mayadeen television channel affiliated with Lebanese Hezbollah reported on Wednesday that an Israeli armored unit was moving from the northwestern part of the Gaza Strip along the coast.
ISW also recalls Palestinian reports according to which the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed arm of Hamas, clashed with Israeli IDF troops in the city of Beit Hanoun, five kilometers northeast of Gaza City.
ISW reports that on Wednesday “many Palestinian militias carried out joint indirect fire attacks on locations in Israel, which may suggest better coordination between them.”
“We have grave concerns that these attacks may have constituted war crimes.”
Tuesday afternoon and again on Wednesday, the Israeli army shelled a refugee camp in the city of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the media, at least several dozen people died, but this figure is not confirmed.
“Given the high number of civilian casualties and the scale of destruction following Israeli air attacks on the Jabaliya refugee camp, we have grave concerns that these disproportionate attacks may have constituted war crimes,” wrote the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (on the X platform .
Photos taken by journalists after the first attack showed several deep craters between the destroyed buildings. Children were seen among the dead and injured, the BBC reported. The Israel Defense Forces admitted the attack, claiming that a high-ranking Hamas commander was killed and that the target of the fire was the “underground terrorist infrastructure” located under the buildings.
Department of State USA announced on Wednesday that it is not currently conducting a formal investigation into suspicions that Israel has committed war crimes. “We will continue to discuss with them (the Israelis) directly, just as we say publicly that we expect all of their actions and military campaigns to comply with the laws of war,” spokesman Matthew Miller said.
When asked about the shelling of the Jabaliya camp, the spokesman said the State Department was “deeply saddened by the loss of civilian lives,” but did not condemn the attacks, CNN reported.
Main photo source: Mostafa Alkharouf/Abaca/PAP