Monday, February 26, 2024

Israel continues to bombard Gaza, including areas it has designated as safe for civilians

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip —

Israeli warplanes relentlessly bombarded the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday, including some of the dwindling areas south of the besieged enclave where Palestinians have been urged to take refuge.

The previous day, the United States vetoed the resolution of the United Nations Security Council that demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, and had great support.

Gaza residents “are told to act like human pinball machines, bouncing between ever-shrinking swaths of the south, without any of the basic elements to survive,” it said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Guterres told the Council that Gaza was at “a point of collapse,” that the humanitarian aid system was on the verge of collapse, and expressed fear that “the consequences could undermine the security of the entire region.”

Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt are armored, leaving 2.3 million Palestinians with no choice but to take refuge within the 40 kilometers (25 miles) long and 11 kilometers (7 miles ) the extent of the territory.

The total death toll in the enclave since the start of the war has exceeded 17,400 people, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas and does not distinguish between civilian victims. and warriors.

Two hospitals in the central and southern Gaza Strip have received the bodies of 133 people following Israeli attacks in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health reported at noon on Saturday.

Israel blames Hamas for the civilian casualties and accuses the rebels of using them as human shields. In addition, he says that he made a great effort, with his evacuation orders, to keep the civilian population away from the war.

He reported that 93 Israeli soldiers were killed in the ground offensive following a deadly attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, in which about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and about 240 injured. – hostage.

Hamas said on Saturday it continued to fire rockets into Israel.

In Gaza, residents reported airstrikes and shelling, including in the city of Rafah near the Egyptian border, an area where the Israeli military ordered civilians to evacuate. In a colorful classroom in the city, children’s desks are knee-deep and littered with debris.

In northern Gaza, Israel tried to secure military control despite strong resistance from Hamas. Tens of thousands of residents are believed to remain there despite evacuation orders, six weeks after the arrival of troops and tanks.

The Israeli military said on Saturday that its forces had engaged and killed Hamas fighters and found weapons inside a school in Shijaia, a densely populated neighborhood in Gaza City. In another incident, militants fired on troops from a UN-run school in the northern city of Beit Hanoun.

More than 2,200 Palestinians have died since December 1, when the week-long truce broke off, two-thirds of them women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

The truce saw the release of Palestinian hostages and prisoners, but more than 130 hostages are believed to remain in Gaza.

On Saturday, a kibbutz that was attacked on October 7 announced that 25-year-old hostage Sahar Baruch had died in captivity. His captors said Baruch died during a failed rescue mission by Israeli forces on Friday. The Israeli military confirmed only that two soldiers were seriously injured in the rescue attempt and that no hostages were released.

With no new ceasefire in sight and a trickle of humanitarian aid reaching only some areas of Gaza, residents are reporting severe food shortages. Nine out of 10 residents of northern Gaza reported going at least one full day and one night without food, according to a World Food Program survey conducted during the truce. Two out of three people in the South say the same thing. WFP described the situation as “alarming.”

“I’m very hungry,” said Mustafa al-Najjar, who is hiding in a UN school in the devastated Jabaliya refugee camp north of the enclave. “We live on canned food and cookies, and that’s not enough.”

Although adults can cope with hunger, “it is very difficult and painful when you see your son or daughter crying because they are hungry and there is nothing you can do,” he added.

On Saturday, 100 trucks of unspecified aid entered Gaza by crossing the Rafah border with Egypt, said Wael Abu Omar, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority Crossings. That amount is lower than the pre-war daily average.

___

Mroue reported in Beirut. Associated Press journalists Julia Frankel in Jerusalem; Samy Magdy in Cairo; Andrew Wilks in Istanbul and Cara Anna in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.

World Nation News Desk
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