BLOG Israel expands ground offensive to the entire Gaza Strip

The war between Israel and Hamas - 58st day

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Ažurirano: 03.12.2023. 22:52h
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22: 54h

The US government was not informed that Hamas was planning an attack on Israel on October 7, said White House Homeland Security spokesman John Kirby, reports Hina.

"Our intelligence community has said that they have reviewed it and there is no indication at this time that there was any warning about this document or any knowledge of it," Kirby told NBC television.

The comments followed a New York Times report that revealed Israel had received information about a potential attack by the force more than a year before the October 7 attack.

According to the New York Times, Israeli authorities shared a 40-page document code-named "The Wall of Jericho" outlining Hamas' battle plan. The plan reportedly closely resembled the October 7 attack.

According to the report, the draft had already reached the Israeli authorities more than a year before the attack and was then circulated in military and intelligence circles. However, it was ultimately dismissed by experts as too ambitious and too difficult for Hamas to implement.

20: 41h

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the Israeli army is expanding the ground offensive against Hamas to the entire Gaza Strip.

"The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) continues to expand its ground operation against Hamas centers throughout the Gaza Strip," Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv.

"The forces are coming face to face with the terrorists and killing them," he said, as reported by Reuters.

18: 16h

Qatar is demanding an "immediate, comprehensive and impartial international investigation" into what the Gulf country's prime minister described as Israeli crimes in Gaza, Qatar's Al Jazeera television reported today, Reuters reports.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also said Qatar would continue its efforts to facilitate another ceasefire and achieve a permanent ceasefire in the besieged enclave, Jazeera added.

17: 28h

The White House announced today that Israel is "making efforts" to reduce the number of civilian casualties in Gaza from the continuation of the conflict after the seven-day ceasefire, and at a time when the international community's calls for the protection of Palestinian civilians have intensified.

"We think they were receptive to our messages about trying to minimize civilian casualties," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC.

The Israeli military continued its offensive in northern Gaza "in a smaller and more precise way," Kirby added, noting that Israel had released an online map in the past two days of where civilians could find refuge and escape the fighting.

"There aren't many modern armies that would do that. They (the Israelis) are trying," Kirby said.

(BETA)

16: 56h

The Palestinian Health Ministry of Hamas announced today that 15.523 people have been killed in Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war on October 7.

In the Israeli military operations launched in Gaza after the bloody attack by Hamas commandos on Israeli soil, 41.316 people were injured, said the spokesman of the Hamas Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Kidreh.

About 70 percent of the Palestinians killed in Gaza in the war between Israel and the Islamist movement are women and children, the spokesman added.

A ceasefire that took effect on November 24 allowed the exchange of dozens of hostages out of the 240 kidnapped and taken to Gaza on October 7. The Israelis released a number of Palestinian detainees.

But Hamas and Israel failed to agree on an extension of the truce that expired on Friday morning. The shelling of the Gaza Strip and rocket fire by Hamas towards Israel continued immediately.

A spokesman for the Ministry said that during the past hours, 316 dead and 664 injured have been pulled from the rubble and transported to hospitals, but many others are still under the rubble.

(BETA)

16: 22h

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus again today called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, saying that reports of hostilities and heavy bombardment in Gaza are frightening.

15: 03h

24 people were killed in Israeli attacks during the past 700 hours, the spokesman of the Hamas Government in the Gaza Strip announced this afternoon.

There is no independent confirmation of that press release, and the spokesman added that many victims were buried in the rubble and that it was difficult for rescuers to reach the wounded and take them to the hospital.

And the spokesman of the Israeli army today called on residents in Arabic to leave certain areas in the south of the Gaza Strip, while targets are being bombarded in both the north and the south after the end of the ceasefire on Friday.

The Israeli military has ordered additional locations in and around the Gaza Strip's second-largest city, Khan Yunis, to be evacuated as the offensive spreads to the south of the territory, where it claims many Hamas leaders are hiding.

Last night and this morning, the area of ​​Khan Yunis and the city of Rafah, also in the south, and parts of the north, which since October 7th have been the focus of Israeli aerial attacks and then ground operations, were bombed.

Many of Gaza's roughly 2,3 million residents fled to the south after Israeli forces ordered civilians out of the north at the start of a war that has now lasted nearly two months.

Due to the renewal of the conflict, hopes of reaching an agreement on another temporary truce have been dashed.

A week-long ceasefire that ended Friday allowed the release of dozens of hostages, Israelis and foreigners, held by Palestinian extremists in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last night that the war will continue until his country achieves all its goals, saying that this is impossible without a ground operation.

Today, the Israeli army extended evacuation orders in the Khan Yunis area and requested that residents leave at least five more locations and neighborhoods for their own safety.

Residents said the Israeli army dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to Rafah, or the coastal area in the southwest. The leaflets said that "the city of Khan Yunis is a dangerous combat zone".

This morning, three bodies of those killed and dozens wounded in an Israeli attack on a residential building in the eastern part of the city were transferred to the main hospital in Khan Yunis, an AP journalist said.

Another 31 bodies of people killed in the Israeli bombardment of central Gaza have been transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Deir el-Balah, an employee said.

AP video shows bodies in white sacks on the ground outside the hospital as dozens of people prayed for the dead this morning. The bodies were then taken by truck for burial.

UN monitors said in a report before the latest evacuation orders that those told to leave made up a quarter of Gaza's territory, home to 800.000 people before the war.

The US, Israel's closest ally, has warned the country to avoid mass displacement of residents.

The UN Palestine Refugee Agency said nearly 958.000 people were displaced in 99 UN buildings in southern Gaza, including 34 in Khan Younis.

Israel's military said its warplanes and helicopters "hit terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnel entrances, command centers and weapons depots" last night, and that five Hamas fighters were killed by a drone.

In northern Gaza, rescue teams with little equipment dug through the ruins of buildings in the Jabaliya refugee camp and other neighborhoods of the Gaza capital in search of possible survivors and the bodies of the dead.

Eyewitnesses said that aerial attacks and shelling do not stop, that "the situation is unimaginable, that death is everywhere", and that anyone can die in an instant.

The Gaza Health Ministry said on Saturday that the total number of dead since the start of the war had exceeded 15.200, mostly women and children, and that more than 40.000 people had been wounded. 78 soldiers were killed in the Israeli offensive in northern Gaza.

On the first day of the war, in the attacks of Palestinian extremists from Gaza, over 1.200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in southern Israel, and 240 hostages were taken.

(BETA)

13: 58h

Pope Francis said today that he was "sorry that the cease-fire has been broken" in Gaza and expressed the hope that "all parties involved in the conflict will be able to reach a new ceasefire as soon as possible."

"The situation in Israel and Palestine is serious. There is a lot of suffering in Gaza, there is a lack of basic necessities," stated the statement of the Pope, who is recovering from bronchitis, reported Agence France-Presse.

The truce, which came into effect on November 24 and has been extended twice, expired on Friday, and no agreement on the extension has been reached.

Palestinian Hamas and Israel accuse each other of violating the ceasefire.

(BETA)

12: 58h

The Israeli army announced today that soldiers have found more than 800 tunnel entrances since the beginning of the ground offensive in the Palestinian territory at the end of October.

As stated, 500 of them were already destroyed, by planting a large amount of explosives, or were sealed.

The Israel Defense Forces said many of the tunnels linked "strategic Hamas assets".

Along with the entrances, hundreds of kilometers of tunnels were destroyed, the Israeli army claims.

The entrances to the tunnels were located in civilian areas, next to or in educational institutions, kindergartens, mosques and children's playgrounds, the army statement said.

Hamas weapons were found in some of them.

The IDF assessed that this was another proof of the cynical use of the civilian population as human shields and cover for terrorist activity.

(BETA)

11: 54h

British planes will fly over Israel and the Gaza Strip in an effort to provide information as part of efforts to free hostages, the UK Ministry of Defense has announced.

The reconnaissance planes "will not be armed, they do not have a combat role and their only task will be to locate the hostages", it was stated in the statement of the ministry, reported today by the Israeli media.

"Only information related to the hostages will be passed on to the relevant authorities responsible for the rescue of the hostages," the statement added.

The ministry pointed out that the UK government is "working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British citizens who were abducted" in the Palestinian Hamas attacks on October 7.

About 240 hostages were taken from southern Israel, including babies, children, the elderly, dual nationals and foreigners.

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Galant said last night that 110 hostages had been freed, the most during the week-long truce that ended on Friday.

For one Israeli hostage, three Palestinian women and three male minors were released from Israeli prisons.

He believes there are still 125 Israeli hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli media.

(BETA)

10: 59h

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called on Israel to protect civilians while fighting Hamas in Gaza, saying it was necessary to win the "urban conflict" against the Palestinian extremist organization.

Clashes between Israel and Hamas resumed on Friday after a week-long truce expired and the two sides accused each other of not extending it, and the violence resumed.

Last night, at a rally in California, Austin said that he learned a lot about "urban warfare" in Iraq, leading a campaign against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist organization.

"Like Hamas, IS was deeply embedded in urban areas and the international coalition against IS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even in the heaviest battles," the US defense secretary said.

The lesson he learned was not how to win an urban war by protecting civilians, but that it was the only way to win.

"In that type of battle, the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you bring them into the hands of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat," Austin said.

The latest war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7 with cross-border attacks by Palestinian extremists from Gaza into southern Israel that killed more than 1.200 people, mostly civilians.

Israel responded with sustained bombardment and later ground operations in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. More than 15.000 people died.

(BETA)

09: 29h

The Israeli army bombed the Gaza Strip last night amid heightened warnings from around the world for restraint to protect civilians.

A total of about 400 targets have been hit in the small Palestinian enclave since clashes resumed on Friday, when a week-long ceasefire expired, killing at least 240 people, according to the health ministry there.

Hamas's military wing and allied Islamic Jihad also said they had fired a "barrage of rocket fire" on Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, on Saturday.

The Israeli army said that "more than 250 rockets" were fired and that two soldiers were killed.

An Israeli strike at dawn killed at least seven people in the Rafah sector of the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas government said.

The Israeli army has been deployed on land in the north of the Gaza Strip, and has intensified airstrikes in the south, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge due to the conflict, Agence France-Presse reported.

Palestinian media reported early this morning that the army was carrying out extensive artillery strikes and airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.

The southern city of Khan Younis is the target of the strike, the Shehab news website, close to Hamas, reported.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, claim they have put a mechanism in place to prevent aid workers and civilians in Gaza from being caught in the crossfire of the Israeli military and Hamas.

Negotiations on the renewal of the truce brokered by Qatar have been at a standstill since yesterday and a team of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad returned from Doha on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said last night that there is no other way to win than by continuing the ground offensive.

(BETA)

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