Israel intensifies Gaza strikes despite ceasefire calls

The Israel-Hamas conflict has seen 1.5 million folks in Gaza flee their houses in a determined seek for security (Aris MESSINIS)

Israel on Monday pounded Gaza with “vital” strikes with troopers battling Hamas forces within the besieged territory, ignoring ceasefire calls by UN support businesses who condemned surging civilian deaths within the month-long battle.

Israeli troops and Hamas fighters engaged in house-to-house fight in densely populated Gaza, the place the conflict has despatched 1.5 million folks fleeing to different components of the territory in a determined seek for cowl.

“We’re hanging Hamas, and we’re going stronghold after stronghold, in line with our plan, in a scientific effort to dismantle Hamas from its navy capabilities,” Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus informed CNN.

“We’ve got troops on the bottom; infantry, armour, fight engineers. They’re hanging and they’re additionally directing fireplace from the air,” he mentioned, including efforts had been centered on the “underground infrastructure” community of Hamas tunnels.

“This strike is like an earthquake,” Gaza Metropolis resident Alaa Abu Hasera mentioned, in a devastated space the place whole blocks had been decreased to rubble.

Israel launched a large bombing marketing campaign on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after the Palestinian militants staged the worst assault in Israel’s historical past.

Of their October 7 assault, Hamas gunmen killed greater than 1,400 folks, largely civilians, and took greater than 240 others hostage.

The well being ministry in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, says greater than 9,770 folks, largely civilians, have been killed in Israeli strikes and the intensifying floor marketing campaign because the conflict started.

– ‘Sufficient is sufficient’ –

Israel has distributed leaflets and despatched textual content messages ordering Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza to move south, however a US official mentioned Saturday at the very least 350,000 civilians remained in what’s now an city conflict zone.

On Sunday, the well being ministry mentioned 45 folks had been killed in Israeli strikes on a refugee camp in central Gaza, leaving survivors desperately looking by way of the rubble.

“Are there any survivors?” shouted Mentioned al-Najma, as he tried to shift the blocks of concrete strewn throughout the highway within the camp.

“They introduced down a complete avenue on the heads of ladies and youngsters with none discover,” he mentioned.

Deepening the desperation within the crowded territory, the only border crossing into Egypt was closed Sunday for a second day in a row, with Hamas suspending the evacuation of international passport holders after Israel refused to permit some injured Palestinians to be evacuated.

The UN Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed the closure, saying greater than 1,100 folks had been allowed out within the two days earlier.

The Israeli military has encircled Gaza Metropolis, successfully splitting the territory in two, with “vital” strikes carried out, military spokesman Daniel Hagari mentioned late Sunday.

Shortly earlier than the strikes, web and phone traces had been lower, and the strikes would proceed in a single day and within the days to return, Hagari added.

Since Israel despatched floor forces into the north of Gaza late final month, “over 2,500 terror targets have been struck” by “floor, air and naval forces”, the military mentioned Sunday.

The combating comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken presses a whirlwind Center East tour centered on humanitarian support for the Palestinians, that has taken him to Israel and the occupied West Financial institution, in addition to to Jordan, Iraq and Cyprus.

Blinken, who has rebuffed requires a ceasefire and backed Israel’s purpose of crushing Hamas, met Sunday with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas within the West Financial institution.

Abbas denounced “the genocide and destruction suffered by our Palestinian folks in Gaza by the hands of Israel’s conflict machine, with no regard for the ideas of worldwide legislation,” the official Palestinian information company Wafa mentioned.

The conflict has exacerbated tensions within the West Financial institution, the place greater than 150 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces and in settlers because the begin of the conflict, in line with the Palestinian well being ministry.

As concern grows at mounting casualties, the heads of all main United Nations businesses issued a joint assertion expressing outrage on the civilian dying toll in Gaza and calling for an “instant humanitarian ceasefire”.

“For nearly a month, the world has been watching the unfolding scenario in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in shock and horror on the spiralling numbers of lives misplaced and torn aside,” the UN chiefs mentioned, together with the heads of UNICEF, the World Meals Programme and the World Well being Group.

“We want a direct humanitarian ceasefire. It has been 30 days. Sufficient is sufficient. This should cease now.”

– ‘Proceed till we win’ –

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remained agency on his place, vowing that “there will not be a ceasefire till the hostages are returned”.

“Allow them to take away this from their lexicon. We’re saying this to our enemies and to our buddies,” the right-wing premier mentioned after assembly troops.

“We’ll merely proceed till we win. We’ve got no different.”

Blinken confronted a rising tide of anger in conferences with Arab international ministers in Jordan on Saturday, the place he reaffirmed US assist for “humanitarian pauses” reasonably than a ceasefire.

Jordan’s air power air-dropped very important medical provides to a subject hospital in Gaza, King Abdullah II mentioned Monday, including that it was his nation’s “responsibility to help our brothers and sisters injured within the conflict on Gaza”.

On Monday, Blinken holds powerful talks in Turkey in a bid to assuage the anger of considered one of Washington’s most strategic however troublesome allies concerning the bloodshed in Gaza.

NATO member Turkey, which is allied to the Palestinians but in addition has ties with Israel, has mentioned it’s recalling its ambassador to Israel and breaking off contacts with Netanyahu.

Within the north of Israel, the military and Lebanon’s Hezbollah motion traded fireplace throughout the border, with every claiming to have hit the opposite’s positions alongside the frontier.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has mentioned Israel’s conflict with Hamas may attract different regional forces, however Conricus mentioned Israel’s place was “very defensive” and troopers have “solely been responding to assaults from Hezbollah”.

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