As attacks in and around Gaza’s second-largest city intensify, the United Nations has warned of a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
Israeli forces on Wednesday surrounded Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip, where the most intense fighting in the war against Hamas is underway.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released a photo of five alleged senior officials of the Palestinian movement, claiming to have killed “most of the senior commanders” of the Hamas military, whom it “eliminated”.
Since the beginning of the ground offensive in northern Gaza on 27 October, the IDF has increased its ground operations throughout the region.
Israel initially ordered Palestinian civilians to move south to avoid the fighting, however they have now come under fire in this part of the besieged area.
“We have secured several Hamas strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip and are now carrying out operations against its strongholds in the south,” Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi said in a statement.
“Our forces found weapons in almost every building and house, found terrorists in many houses and confronted them,” he said.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources said their fighters were clashing violently with Israeli troops to prevent them from entering Khan Yunis and areas east of the city, as well as nearby refugee camps.
According to the Hamas government, artillery fire caused “dozens of deaths and injuries” in several villages east of Khan Yunis during the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, with Israeli forces also attacking several other areas in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials said six people were killed and 14 injured in an Israeli airstrike on the Nauseirat refugee camp in the center of the territory. Tea
The same source claimed that several people were killed and wounded in other attacks on the Jabaliya camp, and that the director of a clinic in Khan Yunis, Ramez al-Najjar, was killed in an Israeli attack on his home.
dire humanitarian situation
Following the end of a seven-day ceasefire on December 1, hundreds of thousands of civilians have continued to flee south into the increasingly tight perimeter near the closed border with Egypt, where they face a dire humanitarian situation.
“Here we are, wandering in the vast expanse of God’s earth in search of a place to take refuge. It seems there is no place to shelter us,” said Oum Mahmoud Tanassi, a resident of Khan Younis, on the way to Rafah on the Egyptian border.
The UN emergency assistance coordinator said, “No place in Gaza is safe. Not hospitals, not shelters, not refugee camps. No one is safe. Not children. Not health workers. Not humanitarians. To the foundations of humanity. This blatant neglect must end.” , Martin Griffiths was quoted as saying in a statement.
The World Food Program (WFP) stressed that the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza is now “almost impossible”.
He said a resumption of hostilities “will only deepen the catastrophic food crisis that already threatens to overwhelm the civilian population.
cut off help
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Rafah is now the only place in the region where humanitarian aid can still be distributed – albeit in limited quantities.
Little aid could reach Khan Yunis, and access to areas to the north has been cut off since fighting resumed.
While Israeli forces drop leaflets every day warning of imminent bombardment on Khan Yunis, ordering residents to leave their neighborhoods, the United Nations has deemed it “impossible” to establish a safe zone.
According to the United Nations, the war in the Gaza Strip has displaced 1.9 million people, or about 85 percent of the population, with more than half of the homes destroyed or damaged.