KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel’s navy ordered extra areas in and round Gaza’s second-largest metropolis of Khan Younis to evacuate on Sunday, adopted by heavy bombardment, because it shifted its offensive to the southern half of the territory the place it asserts that leaders of the Hamas militant group are hiding.
Palestinians in Gaza mentioned they have been working out of locations to go. The Gaza Strip, bordering Israel and Egypt, is sealed. Lots of the territory’s 2.3 million individuals are crammed within the south after Israel ordered civilians to go away the north within the early days of the conflict sparked by the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas and different militants that killed about 1,200 individuals, largely civilians, in southern Israel.
Earlier than the newest evacuation orders, United Nations screens mentioned the areas informed to evacuate made up about one-quarter of the territory.
Heavy bombardment was reported in a single day into Sunday round Khan Younis and the southern metropolis of Rafah, in addition to elements of the north that had been the main focus of Israel’s shattering air and floor offensive. Juliette Toma, director of communications on the U.N. company for Palestinian refugees, mentioned practically 958,000 displaced individuals have been in 99 United Nations amenities within the southern Gaza Strip.
U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk urged an finish to the conflict, saying civilian struggling was “an excessive amount of to bear.”
Hopes for an additional non permanent truce have been fading. A weeklong cease-fire that expired Friday had facilitated the discharge of dozens of the round 240 Gaza-held Israeli and international hostages in change for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. However Israel has known as its negotiators residence.
“We’ll proceed the conflict till we obtain all its objectives, and it’s inconceivable to attain these objectives with out the bottom operation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned Saturday night. One aim is to take away Hamas from energy in Gaza.
It was not clear how many individuals had been killed for the reason that finish of the cease-fire.
On Sunday, Israel’s navy widened evacuation orders in and round Khan Younis, telling residents of at the very least 5 extra areas and neighborhoods to go away. Residents mentioned the navy dropped leaflets ordering them to maneuver south to the border metropolis of Rafah or to a coastal space within the southwest. “Khan Younis metropolis is a harmful fight zone,” leaflets learn.
However Halima Abdel-Rahman, a widow and mom of 4, mentioned she received’t heed such orders anymore. She fled her residence in October to an space outdoors Khan Younis, the place she stays with kin.
“The occupation tells you to go to this space, then they bomb it,” she mentioned by cellphone. “The fact is that no place is protected in Gaza. They kill individuals within the north. They kill individuals within the south.”
The US, Israel’s closest ally, has informed Israel to keep away from vital new mass displacement and do extra to guard civilians. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris additionally informed Egypt’s president that “on no account” would the U.S. allow the compelled relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Financial institution, an ongoing siege of Gaza or the redrawing of its borders.
On the bottom in Gaza, there was frustration and mourning. Exterior a Gaza Metropolis hospital, a dust-covered boy named Saaed Khalid Shehta dropped to his knees beside the bloodied physique of his little brother Mohammad, one in every of a number of our bodies laid out after individuals mentioned their road was hit by airstrikes. He kissed him.
“You bury me with him!” the boy cried. A well being employee at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital mentioned greater than 15 kids have been killed.
Israel’s navy mentioned its fighter jets and helicopters “struck terror targets within the Gaza Strip, together with terror tunnel shafts, command facilities and weapons storage amenities” in a single day, whereas a drone killed 5 Hamas fighters.
The our bodies of 31 individuals killed in Israeli bombardment throughout central Gaza have been taken to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah, mentioned Omar al-Darawi, a hospital administrative worker. Related Press video confirmed our bodies in baggage outdoors the hospital as dozens of individuals held funeral prayers. One girl wept, cradling a baby’s physique on her lap. One other carried the physique of a child.
The principle hospital in Khan Younis obtained at the very least three useless and dozens wounded Sunday from an Israeli strike that hit a residential constructing within the japanese a part of the town, in keeping with an AP journalist there.
In northern Gaza, rescue groups with little tools dug by way of the rubble of buildings within the Jabaliya city refugee camp and different Gaza Metropolis neighborhoods.
“They strike all over the place,” mentioned Amal Radwan, a girl sheltering in Jabaliya. “There’s the nonstop sound of explosions round us.”
The Well being Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza mentioned Sunday the general dying toll within the strip since Oct. 7 had surpassed 15,500, a pointy bounce from the earlier depend of greater than 13,300 on Nov. 20. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, however mentioned 70% of the useless have been girls and youngsters. It mentioned greater than 40,000 individuals had been wounded.
“Too many harmless Palestinians have been killed. Frankly, the size of civilian struggling and the pictures and movies coming from Gaza are devastating,” the U.S. vice chairman mentioned Saturday.
Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Netanyahu, mentioned Israel was making “most effort” to guard civilians and the navy has used leaflets, cellphone calls, and radio and TV broadcasts to induce Gazans to maneuver from particular areas.
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 hundreds of militants, with out offering proof. Israel says at the very least 78 of its troopers have been killed within the offensive in northern Gaza.
The renewed hostilities have heightened issues for 137 hostages, who the Israeli navy says are nonetheless being held after 105 have been freed through the latest truce. Israel freed 240 Palestinians through the truce. Most of these launched by either side have been girls and youngsters.
Israel’s authorities is below stress to barter extra releases. The households of hostages have known as for an pressing assembly with the Safety Cupboard, saying time was “working out to save lots of these nonetheless held by Hamas.”
Fears of a wider battle continued. Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group mentioned it struck Israeli positions close to the tense Lebanon-Israel border as clashes between the Iran-backed group and Israeli navy resumed. Eleven individuals — eight troopers and three civilians — have been injured from Hezbollah fireplace within the space of Beit Hillel, military radio reported.
Magdy reported from Cairo and Becatoros from Athens, Greece. Related Press author Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel contributed to this report.