LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: Israeli Official Urges Palestinians in South to Relocate
An Israeli official has issued a fresh warning to Palestinians in the southern city of Khan Younis, urging them to relocate west out of the line of fire and closer to humanitarian aid. This move comes as an indication that Israel plans to target Hamas in southern Gaza after subduing the north. The official, Mark Regev, stated in an interview that the goal is to prevent civilians from being caught up in the crossfire.
It is estimated that this relocation could impact hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have already fled south from the Israeli assault on Gaza City, as well as the residents of Khan Younis. This would further aggravate the dire humanitarian crisis in the region. Khan Younis, with a population of over 400,000, is at high risk of becoming a battleground between Israel and Hamas.
Israel’s Vow to Annihilate Hamas
Israel has made a firm commitment to annihilate the Hamas militant group that controls the Gaza Strip. This decision follows an attack by Hamas fighters on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people and the capture of 240 hostages. In response, Israel has launched extensive airstrikes on Gaza City, leaving two-thirds of its Palestinian population homeless.
The displaced Palestinians fear that their current displacement may become permanent. The situation has led to a dire humanitarian crisis, with Gaza health authorities reporting a death toll of over 12,000 people, including 5,000 children. The United Nations has validated these figures, although updates have become infrequent due to difficulties in collecting information.
Moving West for Safety and Aid
Israel has dropped leaflets over eastern areas of Khan Younis, urging residents to evacuate to shelters as military operations are imminent. According to Regev, the Israeli Defense Forces will need to advance into the city to remove Hamas fighters from underground tunnels and bunkers. However, the western areas, which are less built-up, do not have the same extensive infrastructure. Regev stated that moving west would provide a safer location where tents and a field hospital could be set up. Additionally, being closer to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt would allow for quicker delivery of humanitarian aid.
International Calls for Ceasefire and Humanitarian Aid
Despite international calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian pauses, the war between Israel and Hamas shows no signs of ending. Abu Ubaida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing, has expressed their preparedness for a long and sustained defense. However, in response to warnings of starvation and disease caused by the siege, Israel has agreed to allow fuel trucks into Gaza and has promised to provide aid requested by the United Nations.
Colonel Elad Goren, from COGAT, the ministry of defense agency that coordinates administrative issues with the Palestinians, stated that the capacity for humanitarian convoys and trucks will be increased as long as there is a need. This change in tone reflects the alarming deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza, with the World Food Programme issuing a stark warning about the immediate possibility of starvation.
Hospital Controversy and Casualties
The Al Shifa hospital in Gaza has been a primary target for Israel’s ground assault and has raised international concern about the worsening humanitarian crisis. Israel claims to have found a vehicle with a large number of weapons and an underground structure that it describes as a Hamas tunnel shaft within the hospital grounds. However, hospital staff deny these allegations and state that Israel’s findings have not substantiated their claims.
Tragic casualties have also occurred during the conflict. A premature baby died at Al Shifa hospital, and Hamas reported the death of an 85-year-old captive from Israel who suffered a panic attack during an air strike. These casualties further highlight the devastating toll the ongoing conflict is taking on innocent lives.
Read More of this Story at www.reuters.com – 2023-11-18 00:31:00
Read More Latest News