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Monday, May 27, 2024

Israeli Forces Advance into Populous Southern Gaza Strip

On Monday, Israel’s military expanded its presence in the Gaza Strip, with the Palestinian death toll rising. According to IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, the Israeli Defence Force is targeting areas where Hamas has strongholds. After initiating a ground offensive on October 27 in northern Gaza, the army had primarily conducted air raids until now. However, troops and tanks are now advancing south, where hundreds of thousands of refugees have sought shelter. An overnight airstrike hit the entrance of Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, causing casualties, as reported by the Palestinian Wafa news agency.

Hamas condemned the strike as a “serious violation” of international humanitarian law. Israel, in response to accusations of bombing the hospital, did not immediately comment. The IDF, reporting five soldiers killed on Monday, including three on Sunday, also launched operations in the occupied West Bank, notably in Jenin, deploying around 30 military vehicles.

Hospitals in southern Gaza are grappling with an overwhelming number of wounded individuals, and their fuel reserves for generators are nearly depleted. Nasser Hospital in Khan Younes, the region’s largest, faces a continuous influx of new casualties and bodies, sometimes unidentified, following each explosion.

James Elder, a Unicef spokesperson present at Nasser, expressed the difficulty of conveying the horrors affecting children in a video on Sunday. He stated, “Words fail me to describe the horrors that are hitting the children here. I see children arriving en masse among the victims.”

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According to the IDF, Israel’s army has conducted “around 10,000 airstrikes” since the onset of the war. Palestinian authorities reported on Sunday that 15,523 people have been killed since the conflict began on October 7, with 70% of them being women and children. The war was sparked by Hamas’ bloody attack on southern Israel.

Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson, Ashraf al-Qidreh, reported that in the past hours, only 316 deceased and 664 injured have been rescued from the rubble and taken to hospitals. However, many others remain trapped beneath the debris.

While acknowledging Israel’s right to self-defense, the United States expressed concern over the increasing civilian casualties, cautioning its principal ally in the Middle East. Vice-President Kamala Harris emphasized the need for Israel to take further measures to safeguard innocent civilians, citing the “devastating” images from Gaza.

Following Hamas’ October attack, which claimed approximately 1,200 lives, mostly civilians, in Israel, the authorities declared war on Hamas, vowing to “annihilate” the Islamist movement that has governed Gaza since 2007.

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