The Israeli Army has stepped up its bombardment and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, where the UN has warned that the situation is “increasingly desperate” and “public order” is collapsing in the face of limited humanitarian aid reaching the enclave.
“The situation in Gaza is becoming more desperate, hour by hour. I regret that instead of a brutally necessary humanitarian stop (…)Israel is intensifying its military operations,” said UN Secretary General António this Sunday . Guterres.
On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the start of a “second phase” of the war against the Islamist movement Hamas in the Palestinian enclave, which will be “long and difficult.”
The Israeli Army, whose soldiers and tanks have been operating on the ground since Friday night, announced on Sunday that it has increased its troops and ground operations in the Gaza Strip.
The Army continues to intensify its bombing of the 362 km2 enclave, in response to the unprecedented attack carried out by Hamas on October 7 in Israel.
About 1,400 people, most of them civilians, were killed by Israel in the attack, and another 230 were kidnapped by the Palestinian group, according to Israeli authorities.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health of Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, said on Sunday that more than 8,000 people had died in the Strip because of the war, “half of them children.”
Relief trucks coming in
Since October 9, Israel has imposed a “total siege” on the Palestinian territory where 2.4 million people live overcrowded, disrupting water, food and electricity supplies.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) warned on Sunday that “public order is beginning to collapse” after thousands of people ransacked several of its centers.
Ten trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered from Egypt on Sunday, bringing to 94 the number of vehicles that have arrived since October 21, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
In Rafah, residents were still struggling for bread on Sunday. “We have been queuing since 5:30 in the morning. (…) We are not sure” whether we will get anything, said Aisha Ibrahim, an evacuee from northern Gaza.
“On the ground and under the ground”
The Israeli army indicated that its aircraft, “guided by troops (on the ground), hit (on Sunday) Hamas military structures in the northern Gaza Strip,” and that rockets were fired from Palestinian territory towards central and southern Israel.
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded overnight, one of them fighting with members of Hamas, according to the army.
Netanyahu declared on Saturday that the Israeli army would “destroy the enemy on the ground and underground,” referring to the tunnels through which Hamas runs its operations, according to Israel.
The purpose of this “second phase of the war” is “clear: destroy the military capabilities and leadership of Hamas and bring the hostages home,” he said.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that “the Israeli government must take every step it can to distinguish between Hamas – terrorists who are legitimate military targets – and civilians who are not.” .”
“Families don’t sleep”
The Israeli leader met on Saturday with the relatives of the Hamas hostages, who are increasingly dissatisfied with the “complete uncertainty,” said Haim Rubinstein, his spokesman.
“Families don’t sleep, they want answers,” he added.
Four women have been released so far. Hamas claimed that “about 50” hostages were killed by Israeli gunfire.
The leader of the Islamist movement in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, declared on Saturday that he is ready to “immediately close an exchange to release all the prisoners from the prisons of the Zionist enemy in exchange for all the hostage.”
For its part, the Israeli army on Saturday urged Palestinian civilians to “temporarily move” to the south, “to a safer place where they can receive water, food and medicine.
Communication was restored
The intensification of the bombings in Gaza coincided with a communication and Internet outage, further complicating humanitarian work. But the network was restored on Sunday, according to network monitoring organization Netblocks.
The Palestinian territory is also facing a shortage of medicines and some surgical operations are being carried out without sleeping patients, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned on Saturday. According to the Hamas Health Ministry, 12 hospitals are out of service in the Strip.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, whose country backs Hamas, said on Sunday that Israel had crossed “red lines” by intensifying its offensive.
One of the sensitive areas is the border between Israel and Lebanon. On Sunday, the exchange of fire took place again between the Israeli army and the Hezbollah group.