Israel strikes northern Gaza as ground offensive steps up

  • Recent developments
  • Two Palestinians Killed in Israeli Attack in West Bank -WAFA
  • Israel attacks northern Gaza with heavy air and artillery strikes
  • Images show Israeli forces deep in Gaza
  • The Gaza media office says 116 doctors and 35 journalists have been killed since the conflict broke out

GAZA, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Palestinians in northern Gaza reported heavy air and artillery strikes early on Monday as Israeli troops pressed into the enclave with a ground offensive backed by tanks, prompting international calls to protect civilians.

Israeli airstrikes hit areas near Shifa and al-Quds hospitals in Gaza City, and Palestinian militants clashed with Israeli forces in the border area east of Khan Younis, Palestinian media reported.

Neither Hamas nor the Israeli military have commented on Monday’s fighting. Reuters could not confirm the reports.

The blasts came hours after Israel released images of battle tanks in the Palestinian territory’s West Bank. This is a sign of a possible attempt to encircle the main city of Gaza.

Some images posted online show Israeli soldiers waving an Israeli flag deep inside Gaza. Reuters could not verify the images.

Israel’s self-proclaimed “phase two” of its three-week war against Iranian-backed Hamas militants has been largely shielded from public view, with troops moving in the dark and telecommunications blackouts cutting off Palestinians.

Phone and Internet cuts appeared to ease Sunday, but Israeli airstrikes again knocked out Internet and phone service in parts of the northern enclave, home to Hamas command centers, telecommunications provider Baltel said.

These outages have severely hampered rescue operations for victims of Israeli barrages.

The strikes near hospitals were announced after the Palestinian Red Cross said on Sunday it had received warnings from Israeli authorities to immediately evacuate al-Quds hospital, which is sheltering some 14,000 people.

Israel has accused Hamas of locating command centers and other military infrastructure in Gaza hospitals, which the group denies.

Palestinian officials say about 50,000 people are sheltering at the Shifa hospital, and they are concerned about Israeli threats to the facility.

Israel has tightened its blockade and bombarded Gaza since Hamas militants crossed the border into Israel on October 7. Israeli officials say the militants have killed about 1,400 people and taken at least 239 hostages.

It has stepped up operations against Islamist groups in the West Bank, killing scores of Palestinians and arresting hundreds.

Two Palestinians were killed and nine wounded on Monday in an Israeli attack on the West Bank city of Jenin and its refugee camp, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Calls for suspension

Israel’s stepped-up attacks coincided with a growing international cry for a “humanitarian pause” to allow aid.

Qatar-mediated talks between Israel and Hamas continued on Sunday, a source close to the talks told Reuters, and included discussions on the release of hostages.

Hamas wants a five-day humanitarian pause in Israeli operations to allow arms and fuel into the besieged Gaza Strip, in exchange for the militants releasing all civilians held hostage, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the Israeli government, more than half of Hamas’ hostages hold foreign passports from 25 countries, including 54 Thai nationals.

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council is due to give a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The 15-member body has failed four times in the past two weeks, but the 193-member UN General Assembly voted on Friday to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

US President Joe Biden pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to protect civilians in Gaza and call for an “immediate and substantial increase in the flow of humanitarian aid” to the besieged coastal enclave, the White House said.

The White House said separately that Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have pledged to significantly accelerate the flow of aid into Gaza starting Sunday.

Colonel Elad Koran of COGAT, an Israeli defense ministry agency that coordinates with the Palestinians, said Israel would allow a dramatic increase in aid to Gaza in the coming days and that Palestinian civilians should move to a “humanitarian zone” south of the enclave. Territory.

Medical officials in the Gaza Strip, home to a population of 2.3 million, said Sunday that 8,005 people – including 3,324 minors – had been killed.

The Hamas-run Gaza government’s media office said 116 doctors and 35 journalists had been killed since the conflict broke out.

Reuters could not independently verify these figures.

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas, which it describes as requiring sustained ground offensives around and under Gaza City, where the militants have a vast network of underground bunkers.

There are also fears that the Gaza war could spill over into a region similar to Lebanon, where the Israeli military and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group have been firing on each other.

On Monday, Syrian state television said Israeli airstrikes targeting two military positions in Daraa had led to “some material losses”.

The conflict has sparked massive demonstrations around the world in support of the Palestinians. Several thousand people rallied in Beirut on Sunday to show solidarity with Gaza.

Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters stormed Russia’s Dagestan airport after a flight from Israel arrived on Sunday.

The incident prompted Israel to urge Moscow to protect Israelis and Jews in Russia.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Yomna Ehab, James Mackenzie, Dan Williams and Jonathan Landay; By David Lauder and Stephen Coates; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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A veteran reporter with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.

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