Israel now attacks in crowded Southern Gaza, death toll increases despite evacuation orders

Khan Younis. Israel on Saturday attacked targets in the crowded southern part of the Gaza Strip and ordered people to evacuate areas marked for attack. The death toll is rising despite calls from the US and others to do more to protect Gaza’s civilians.

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in fighting that resumed Friday morning after a week-long ceasefire with Hamas, the extremist organization that rules the territory, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The ministry of Hamas-ruled Gaza separately announced that the total number of deaths in Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7 has reached more than 15,200, well above the previous death toll of 13,300.

The ministry had stopped reporting the total number of deaths on a daily basis from November 11 after the war disrupted connectivity and hospital operations. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but said Saturday that 70 percent of the dead were women and children. It said more than 40,000 people had been injured in the past two months. After the breakdown of the temporary ceasefire, Israel was urged by its closest ally America to do more to protect Palestinian citizens.

The appeal came after mive air and ground attacks in the first weeks of the war devastated large areas of northern Gaza, killing thousands of Palestinians and displacing thousands more. Nearly two million Palestinians, who constitute almost the entire population of Gaza, are now confined to the southern half of the territory. French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai on Saturday that he accepts Israel’s right to self-defense, but has no right to attack civilians.

The Israeli military said Saturday that it targeted more than 400 Hamas positions in Gaza the previous day with airstrikes, shelling from tanks and naval artillery. This included more than 50 attacks in the city of Khan Younis and surrounding areas, located in the southern part of Gaza. Many houses and buildings were targeted. At least nine people, including three children, were killed in the attack on a house in the southern city of Deir al-Balah, according to the hospital where the bodies were taken. The hospital also received the bodies of seven other people, including two children, who were killed in the overnight airstrike. Meanwhile, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza said they fired rockets at southern Israel.

Sirens were heard in communities near the Gaza Strip but there were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries. As the war resumed, the Israeli military published an online map dividing the Gaza Strip into hundreds of parcels and told residents to familiarize themselves with the parcel numbers of their location ahead of evacuation warnings. The Israeli military published such a map for the first time on Saturday, listing more than two dozen parcel numbers in the areas around Gaza City, north and east of Khan Younis. Apart from this, the army also dropped leaflets ordering evacuation on the towns east of Khan Yunus.

The maps and pamphlets created panic, fear, and confusion, especially in the populous South. The only option left for people unable to get to northern Gaza or neighboring Egypt is to wander within the 220 square kilometer zone. “There is nowhere to go,” lamented Imad Hajar, who fled the northern city of Beit Lahiya with his wife and three children to seek refuge in Khan Yunis a month ago. He said Israeli forces had earlier They drove us from the North and now they are pressurizing us to leave the Southern region.

Amal Radwan, who took refuge in the refugee camp in Jabaliya, an urban area in northern Gaza, said she was not aware of such a map, adding that she and many others in the camp were unable to escape due to constant bombardment. Are not. He said, “We will not go.” There is death here and death there too.” Israel says it is targeting Hamas fighters and has accused the militants of causing civilian casualties. Israel alleges that terrorists are operating from residential areas. Israel says 77 of its soldiers have been killed in a ground attack in northern Gaza, but it claims to have killed thousands of terrorists but has provided no evidence of this.

The renewed fighting has raised concerns over the 136 hostages who, according to the Israeli military, are still held by Hamas and other militants. 105 hostages were freed during the ceasefire. A 70-year-old woman taken hostage by Hamas was declared dead Saturday, according to her kibbutz, bringing the known number of dead hostages to eight. During the ceasefire, Israel released 240 Palestinians from its captivity.

Disclaimer: has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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