Israel bombards southern Gaza as residents fear new ground offensive

December 3, 2023 8:24 am

[Source: Reuters]

Israeli war planes and artillery bombarded the south of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, hitting mosques, homes and close to a hospital, after the collapse of a truce in the nearly two-month-old war between Israel and Hamas militants

Residents feared the barrages were a prelude to an Israeli ground operation in the south of the Palestinian territory which would bottle them up in a shrinking area and possibly try to push them into neighbouring Egypt.

The Gaza health ministry said at least 193 Palestinians had been killed and 650 wounded since the truce ended on Friday morning – adding to the more than 15,000 Palestinian dead since the start of the war.

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Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas once and for all, saying that the Islamist group poses a threat to its very existence and it is acting against foe bent on its destruction.

Throughout Saturday morning, a steady stream of wounded people were carried into the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, with some people even receiving treatment laying on the floor,

The head of the International Red Cross said the renewed fighting was intense.

“It’s a new layer of destruction coming on top of massive, unparalleled destruction of critical infrastructure, of civilian houses and neighbourhoods,” Robert Mardini told Reuters in Dubai.

With conditions inside the Hamas-ruled enclave reaching “breaking point”, in Mardini’s words, the first aid trucks since the end of the truce entered Gaza through the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing on Saturday, Egyptian security and Red Crescent sources said.