Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Israel has stepped up its operations as the civilian death toll in Gaza continues to rise


Today, Thursday, the Israeli army intensified its attacks and ground operations in central and southern Gaza, according to Hamas figures, continuing international warnings of “serious danger” affecting civilians in the Strip, where the death toll exceeded 21,000.

In light of fears that the scope of the conflict could expand to the Palestinian territories and other fronts, Israeli forces launched an offensive early Thursday in areas of the occupied West Bank, particularly the city of Ramallah, where one person was killed. , at a time when the Israeli chief of staff confirmed the army's “highest level” of readiness, including the northern front against Lebanese Hezbollah.

On Thursday, the Hamas government's health ministry announced bloody night strikes targeting Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah camps.

For its part, the Israeli army announced it would continue its operations in Khan Yunis, the largest city in the southern Gaza Strip, which has been the center of ground operations for some time, and in camps in the central Gaza Strip.

Agence France-Presse reported that the army also broadcast images of its soldiers advancing through what they say are tunnels dug by “Hamas” near the Rantisi Children's Hospital in West Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday night, Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari hinted at the possibility of an “expansion of fighting north” along the border with Lebanon, where the Hebrew state and Hezbollah have exchanged fire since the outbreak of war in Gaza for more than two months. Before.

Hagari's statements came hours after Chief of Staff Herzey Halevi visited the headquarters of the Northern Command, where he confirmed the military was “at the highest level of readiness,” according to a military statement.

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He added: “We have today approved various plans for the next steps as we must be ready to strike if necessary.”

Israel's northern regions have seen an exchange of bombings with Hezbollah, which it says is targeting military bases and military points in “support” for the Palestinians, while the army has retaliated with airstrikes and artillery shelling in southern Lebanon. “Infrastructure” of the Party

According to an account by Agence France-Presse, the expansion of the border between the two countries has killed at least 160 people in Lebanon, including more than 110 Hezbollah fighters and at least 17 civilians, including three journalists. On the Israeli side, at least 13 people were killed, including nine soldiers.

serious danger

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry, told a televised press conference today: “The number of Israeli occupations since last October seventh has been 21,320 martyrs and 55,603 wounded.”

As operations on the ground continued, the Israeli army announced on Thursday morning that three soldiers had been killed, bringing its total casualties since the start of the ground war to 167.

On Wednesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed “deep concern over the continued bombardment of central Gaza by Israeli forces”, saying: “All attacks must strictly comply with the principles of international humanitarian law and take precautionary measures.”

In parallel, warnings about the high cost of continuing the conflict continued.

French President Emmanuel Macron, during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, renewed his call for a “sustainable ceasefire with the help of all regional and international partners” in Gaza.

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During a visit to Iraq on Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for “an end to the hostilities and a permanent ceasefire”, while his Iraqi counterpart, Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, called for “pressure on the world to stop this”. Allow destructive war and humanitarian aid” Gaza.

In turn, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Wednesday of the “grave risk” facing the Strip's 2.4 million people.

He called on the international community to “take urgent steps to mitigate the grave danger facing the people of Gaza, which is undermining the ability of humanitarian workers to help people at high risk of severe injuries, acute hunger and disease.”

The organization confirms that 21 of the 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have stopped working.

There is no safe area

According to United Nations figures, 1.9 million people, representing 85 percent of Gaza's population, have been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting, while fears of famine are building in the Gaza Strip, which is facing a humanitarian crisis. An Israeli blockade and lack of humanitarian aid have entered the war since its inception.

Among the displaced was Iman al-Masri (29), who gave birth to four children by caesarean section after fleeing on foot.

The mother hurriedly left her home in Beit Hanoun (north) on the fifth day of the war, which she thought would not last long. She told Agence France-Presse: “I only took some summer clothes for my children. I thought the war wouldn't last more than a week or two and we'd be back home.”

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Smoke rises from Israeli bombing of Khan Younis (AFP).

Iman, who was six months pregnant with her three children, walked five kilometers from her home to the Jabaliya camp, where she found a vehicle taking them to Deir al-Bala. In the eighth month of pregnancy, doctors decided to induce labor, and on December 18, four children were born.

On Tuesday/Wednesday night, not far from the city of Deir al-Balah, an Israeli bombardment targeted a school owned by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Makassi refugee camp, home to thousands of displaced people.

One displaced person, who requested anonymity, said: “There is no safe zone in Gaza.”

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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