Israel’s military intensified attacks on the Gaza Strip this Sunday (3), especially in the southern portion of the territory, a day after pointing out areas that they say are safe for civilians to take shelter.
During the afternoon, the Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, Herzi Halevi, confirmed that the ground action, once concentrated in the north, is now also in the south of the region. “Hamas commanders will encounter our forces everywhere.”
The attacks were especially intense in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, and in Khan Yunis, cities where many Palestinians from the north of the strip took refuge after an Israeli ultimatum at the end of October. The last region, for example, was 2 km from a place where members of Hamas clashed with Israeli troops, according to the Palestinian faction.
The Israeli Army had initially ordered Palestinians to empty several areas around Khan Yunis. Afterwards, the military published maps dividing Gaza into quadrants and marking those that would be bombed and those in which the population, in theory, should take shelter.
But residents told the Reuters news agency that even the areas they had been told to go to were being attacked, and that regions to the south where there is no bombing are increasingly thinning out — reports that could not be independently confirmed. Many of the Palestinians still reported fearing a new land offensive by Tel Aviv in that region.
Israeli troops also carried out air strikes again against the Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza. Local authorities linked to Hamas, which controls the strip, said there were dozens of deaths and injuries, but did not detail the figures.
The Gaza Ministry of Health, also controlled by the faction, states that more than 15,500 people have been killed in the Palestinian strip since the start of the war, which was triggered by a Hamas invasion of southern Israel on October 7 that ended with a massacre of civilians in so-called kibbutzim.
Images obtained by Reuters show a boy with his body covered in dust from the explosions sitting amid debris from the Jabalia camp and mourning for his father. “He was martyred,” he said tearfully, using a term common among Palestinians in the region. Hamas refers to all those killed as “martyrs”, without distinguishing between combatants and innocent people.
In an interview with the ABC network, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, stated that Tel Aviv seeks to exert “military pressure to force Hamas to make a deal that will lead to the release of more hostages.” “And that pressure will continue in the days and weeks ahead.”
The day before, however, the terrorist group had already said that it does not plan to release any more Israeli hostages unless the war comes to an end or Israel accepts a new ceasefire that is accompanied by the release of all Palestinians currently held in prisons. of Israel.
Also this Sunday, Qatar, one of the main mediators in the current conflict, also publicly criticized Israel again. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani told Al Jazeera that his country advocates a “global, immediate and impartial” investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, which he claims amount to crimes.
Born in Gaza City, the capital and most populous municipality in the strip of land of the same name, Maher, 37, father of three, told Reuters that he moved to Al-Karara, in the south, fleeing attacks in the north. But between this Saturday and this Sunday, he also had to flee shelters in Khan Yunis and Rafah with his family due to the attacks.
“Before, we used to wonder whether or not we would die in this war, but in the last two days since Friday, we fear that it is just a matter of time,” Maher told Reuters by telephone.
UN officials and residents said it was difficult to comply with Israel’s evacuation orders due to patchy internet access and inconsistency in electricity supplies. Around 1.8 million people, or 80% of Gaza’s population, have fled their homes since the fighting began, according to the multilateral organization.
Of the displaced, more than 400,000 sought shelter in Rafah and almost 300,000 took shelter in Khan Yunis.
On another front in the current conflict in the Middle East, this Sunday, Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen, the Houthis, claimed responsibility for air strikes that hit two ships in the Red Sea.
The Houthis called the vessels “Israeli”, although for now there is no public confirmation of any connection between the ships and Tel Aviv, and said the attack was carried out after the vessels had “rejected warnings from the group’s navy”.
Last month, a cargo ship linked to Tel Aviv was seized by Houthi rebels, a Shiite ethnic group supported by Iran as well as the Palestinian groups Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah.