© Reuters. Smoke rises after an explosion in Gaza, as seen from southern Israel, amid the continuing battle between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, November 18, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and James Mackenzie
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel ready on Sunday to increase its offensive towards Hamas militants to southern Gaza after air strikes killed dozens of Palestinians, together with civilians reported to be sheltering at two faculties.
After dropping leaflets earlier within the week, Israel on Saturday once more warned civilians in elements of southern Gaza to relocate because it girds for an onslaught in that a part of the small coastal enclave, after subduing the north.
Elevating worldwide alarm, Israel made Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza Metropolis a major focus of its floor advance in northern Gaza. A group led by the World Well being Group (WHO) visited Al Shifa on Saturday and described it as a “demise zone” with indicators of gunfire and shelling. WHO mentioned it was growing plans for instant evacuation of the remaining sufferers and workers.
Elsewhere within the north, Commissioner-Common Philippe Lazzarini of UNRWA, the U.N. support group for Palestinian refugees, mentioned on social media platform X that Israel bombarded two company faculties. Greater than 4,000 civilians had been sheltered at certainly one of them, he mentioned.
“Dozens reported killed together with kids,” he mentioned. “Second time in lower than 24 hours faculties aren’t spared. ENOUGH, these horrors should cease.”
A spokesperson for Gaza’s Hamas authorities mentioned 200 folks had been killed or injured on the college. Israel’s navy didn’t remark.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose authorities controls elements of the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution, on Saturday mentioned “a whole lot of forcibly displaced folks had been killed” on the two faculties in Gaza.
Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after the militant group’s Oct. 7 rampage into Israel during which its fighters killed 1,200 folks and took 240 hostages, in line with Israeli tallies.
Because the battle entered its seventh week, authorities in Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip raised their demise toll to 12,300, together with 5,000 kids.
Abbas on Saturday made an attraction to U.S. President Joe Biden to intervene to cease the Israeli operation in Gaza.
In an deal with aired by Palestine TV, Abbas mentioned “a whole lot of forcibly displaced folks had been killed” on the two faculties in Gaza and demanded “that you just and world leaders take duty to cease this aggression and genocide towards our folks.”
Biden, who opposes a ceasefire, was trying to the tip of the battle, saying in a Washington Put up opinion article that the Palestinian Authority ought to finally govern each Gaza and the West Financial institution.
Requested about Biden’s proposal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed reporters in Tel Aviv the Palestinian Authority in its present kind was not able to being answerable for Gaza. Israel has not disclosed a technique for Gaza after the battle.
ASSAULT ON SOUTH LOOMS
As Israel’s navy regarded to maneuver southward, Palestinian officers accused the Israeli military of forcibly evacuating most workers, sufferers and displaced folks from Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, and abandoning them to perilous journeys southwards on foot.
Israeli forces denied the accusation, saying evacuations had been voluntary. Army spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari mentioned Israel opened a secure hall for civilians who had been within the hospital to go south, on the request of the hospital director.
Israeli forces seized Al Shifa earlier within the week, saying it hid an underground Hamas command centre.
An Israeli offensive within the south might compel a whole lot of 1000’s of Palestinians who fled Gaza Metropolis within the north to uproot once more, together with residents of Khan Younis, a metropolis of greater than 400,000, compounding a dire humanitarian disaster.
The battle has already displaced round two-thirds of Gaza’s inhabitants of two.3 million.
An advance into southern Gaza might show extra difficult and deadlier than within the north, nonetheless, with Hamas militants dug into the Khan Younis area, a senior Israeli supply and two prime ex-officials mentioned.
Early Saturday, an air strike in a busy residential district of Khan Younis killed 26 Palestinians and wounded 23, well being officers mentioned.
Eyad Al-Zaeem instructed Reuters he misplaced his aunt, her kids and her grandchildren within the air strike in Khan Younis. All of them had evacuated from northern Gaza on Israeli military orders solely to die the place the military instructed them they may very well be secure, he mentioned.
“All of them had been martyred. They’d nothing to do with the (Hamas) resistance,” mentioned Zaeem, standing exterior the morgue at Nasser Hospital, the place the 26 our bodies had been laid out earlier than they had been to be carried by family members to burials.
Just a few miles (kms) to the north, six Palestinians had been killed when a home was bombed from the air within the city of Deir Al-Balah, well being authorities mentioned.
A 3rd Israeli air strike on Saturday afternoon killed 15 Palestinians in a home west of Khan Younis, near a shelter for displaced folks, witnesses and medics mentioned.
Israel says Hamas usually conceals fighters and weaponry in residential and different civilian buildings, which Hamas denies.
An Israeli navy assertion mentioned solely that over the previous 24 hours its air pressure had hit dozens of Gaza targets together with militants, command centres, rocket launch websites and munitions factories.
Israel mentioned 5 of its troopers had been killed in Gaza since Friday, bringing its losses within the territory to 57.