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In southern Gaza, Israel mounts fiercest attacks so far in war against Hamas

In southern Gaza, Israel mounts fiercest attacks so far in war against Hamas
Contrails of Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile defense system strike Hamas rockets overhead as Hamas militants in Gaza continue fire into Israel, despite being targeted by more than 14,000 strikes during eight weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground offensive, on December 4, 2023 in Sderot, Israel. Sirens warning of possible incoming rockets have sounded in several areas of central Israel after the truce agreement broke down, failing to hold beyond a week despite diplomatic talks and the release of captives. (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

GAZA, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Israel's military assaulted southern Gaza's main city in what it said was the fiercest combat since it began its ground invasion to eliminate Hamas five weeks ago, while the U.S. again pressed Israel to minimise Palestinian civilian casualties.

  • Israeli general says fighting most intense of ground operation as Gazans say there is no safe refuge. U.S. presses Israel to allow more aid and protect civilians

By Bassam Masoud and IbraheemAbu Mustafa

Israel reported its forces, backed by war planes, on Tuesday reached the heart of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and also surrounded the city. Hamas’ armed wing, the al Qassam Brigades, said its fighters engaged in violent clashes with Israelis.

“We are in the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation,” the commander of the Israeli military’s Southern Command, General Yaron Finkelman, said in a statement.

They were also the most pitched battles since a truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed last week. Israeli forces also fought in Jabalia, a large urban refugee camp and Hamas hotbed in northern Gaza next to Gaza City, and in Shuja’iyya, east of the city, Finkelman said.

Hamas’ armed wing said it killed or wounded eight Israeli troops and destroyed 24 military vehicles on Tuesday. An Israeli military website listed two troop deaths for Tuesday and 83 since the ground operation began.

Gaza health officials said many civilians were killed in an Israeli strike on houses in Deir al-Balah, north of Khan Younis. Dr Eyad Al-Jabri, head of the Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital there, told Reuters at least 45 were killed. Reuters could not reach the area nor confirm the toll.

Israel unleashed its campaign in response to an attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas fighters who rampaged through Israeli towns, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages, according to Israel’s tally.

Israeli police are investigating alleged sexual crimes and Israel’s justice ministry has said “victims were tortured, physically abused, raped, burned alive, and dismembered.”

Hamas’ media office said on Tuesday at least 16,248 people including 7,112 children and 4,885 women had been killed in Gaza by Israeli military action since Oct. 7. Thousands more are missing and feared buried under rubble.

Those figures were not immediately verified by the Gaza health ministry.

 

U.S. PRESSURE ON ISRAEL

Since the truce collapsed, Israel has been posting an online map to tell Gazans which parts of the enclave to evacuate to avoid attacks. Khan Younis’ eastern quarter was marked on Monday, home to hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom took flight on foot.

 

 

Gazans say there is no safe place, with remaining towns and shelters already overwhelmed, and Israel continuing to bomb the areas where it is telling people to go.

At Khan Younis’ main Nasser hospital, the wounded arrived by ambulance, car, flatbed truck and donkey cart after what survivors described as a strike on a school being used as a shelter for the displaced.

Inside a ward, almost every inch of blood-splattered floor space was taken up by the wounded including small children, with medics hurrying from patient to patient while relatives wailed.

Two girls were being treated, still covered in dust from the collapse of the house that had buried their family.

“My parents are under the rubble,” sobbed one. “I want my mum, I want my mum, I want my family.”

Amid continued international criticism of Gaza’s plight, the United States, Israel’s close ally, reiterated on Tuesday that Israel needed to do more to allow fuel and other aid into Gaza and reduce harm to civilians. Despite the mounting death toll, it said Israel was now showing some receptiveness to the calls.

“The level of assistance that’s getting in is not sufficient,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a press briefing. “It needs to go up, and we’ve made that clear to the government of Israel.”

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Hamas had repeatedly raped women and mutilated their bodies during its Oct.7 assault on southern Israel, citing survivors and witnesses of the attacks.

“It is appalling,” he told a political fundraiser in Boston.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, Hamas denounced Biden’s statements as false accusations and said he was joining Israel’s effort to cover up war crimes in Gaza committed with U.S. support.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the claims of rape and other abuse in a meeting with families of returned hostages on Tuesday that some participants described as angry because of frustration over the government’s handling of the situation.

“I heard stories that broke my heart… I heard and you also heard, about sexual assault and cases of brutal rape unlike anything,” Netanyahu said at a news conference.

Israel says a number of women and children remain in Hamas hands. During the pause in fighting, Hamas returned more than 100 hostages while 138 captives remain.

Biden blamed Hamas for the collapse of the truce last week, saying the militant group’s “refusal to release the remaining young women is what broke this deal”.

Israel and Hamas have accused each other of wrecking negotiations.

Hamas official Osama Hamdan said on Tuesday there would be no more captive releases until Israel’s aggression stops.

Separately, the U.S. imposed visa bans on people involved in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank after appeals for Israel to do more prevent attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers.

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Marks says:

    Maverick, did any of your “editors” read this piece? You published a biased article from Reuters. You have no journalistic integrity.

    • Stand For Truth says:

      Please elaborate why you say this us a biased article? Any specific points that you can disagree with?
      Reuters is a respected news organisation and as journalist integrity DM is providing all opinions.

    • Stand For Truth says:

      Hi Steve
      Please enlighten us why the report us factually biased?
      Journalistic integrity is posting opposing views based on facts
      Daily Maverick should be congratulated for their courage

  • Cornay Bester says:

    “…alleged sexual crimes …” ?
    Alleged Drugged hostages … silence.
    Alleged Defecation on victims … silence.
    Alleged Male rape … silence
    Alleged UN complicity … silence

  • L T. says:

    DM you have lost any journalistic integrity that you may ever have had. This piece is blatantly biased. Your laziness in simply reproducing what you source from other biased sources is astounding.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The brutality of the Israel war on Palestinians that we see on our television screens is a reminder of how useless is the UN when one of the permanent security council members is part of the belligerents. In Ukraine we have Russian involvement and in Gaza we have the US involvement and as a result the UN Security Council cannot discharge its legal obligations under the Charter. The US that has been coaxing countries on Ukraine is involved in the murder of Palestinians along with the Israel rogue state in Gaza and West Bank. We are appalled at US position as it parades itself as a paragon of peace and democracy but has been supporting the wanton murder of Palestinians. At least the Ukrainians have be provided with all kinds of weapons by the western imperialist countries to defend themselves but there is none giving such military support to the Palestinians. The Arab and Muslim countries are holding press conferences and meetings when Palestinians are dying under the brutal assault of Israel and the US. Given the statements of Netanyahu and his acolytes nothing short of a military intervention will stop the massacre against the Palestinians. No press conferences and platitudes will stop the US and Israel from the mass murder of Palestinians except direct military intervention by the Arab countries. The Palestinians are used to the betrayal by the Arabs and we are all watching what the Arab countries are not doing.

  • Colin McGee says:

    So where are the Palestinians supposed to go?

    • Stand For Truth says:

      It is admirable the Palestinian people would suffer the brutality of the isreal government and choose to stay on their land.
      The neighbouring countries would not want to be complicit in a genocide.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Admirable to die instead of relocate? Easy for you to say from behind the comfort of your keyboard and nom de plume

        • Stand For Truth says:

          Killed a genocide

        • Stand For Truth says:

          The Cambodians and Vietnamese fought for their land while the usa carpet b9mbed the land.
          Should the the neighbouring countries taken the black people when the Nationalist government stole the country?

        • Stand For Truth says:

          Yes admirable that they rather die on their land than run away.
          The Palestinian peoples view on death by an aggressor killing innocent people is different from people fearing death.
          Ironically the actions of the Idf has created a new generation of Hamas fighters.
          Hamas will not be eradicated in this war,how can you eradicate an enemy you can’t see?
          A sophisticated powerful of isreal hasn’t in 2 months.

    • Louise Wilkins says:

      Are you saying that all Palestinians are terrorists?

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Without being glib Colin – I’m sure you’re aware of the size of the Middle East, and how heartfelt the Palestinian cause is to every one of its 15-or-so Arab neighbours (over 99%-or-so of the Middle East). I thought it was a religious virtue to welcome the stranger, let alone a relative. Think of the goodwill and literally billions in foreign aid that would potentially support this community to relocate and live in peace. Yet Egypt blocks its border to Gaza, Jordan says point blank it will not accept another Palestinian, etc.

      I’d say it’s a better question to ask is where are the 7 million Jews currently living in Israel (which is smaller than the Kruger Park and constitutes 0.025% of the land mass of the Middle East) supposed to go?” – because that answer is existential.

  • Stand For Truth says:

    genocide
    /ˈdʒɛnəsʌɪd/
    noun
    the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.
    Oxford dictionary

  • Stand For Truth says:

    Yes Mordechai,the Arab countries are doing nothing out of fear. The USA has over20 ships with 15000 personnel inthe gulf protecting isreal.
    The bully USA with the most powerful army in the world would attack any country that gets involved in helping the Palestinians. This would be very damaging to the Arab countries civilians.
    The USA since the second ww has been responsible for deaths of millions of innocent people….
    Japan, Korea ,Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, Afghanistan, Iraq Ukraine…
    Being a bully of the world creates fear 😨

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      I’d say it’s more cowardice than fear. Don’t I recall you encouraging the Palestinians to stay and defend their land, from the comfort of your keyboard? I can imagine you also venturing out to the occasional march too, covering your face behind a kaffiyeh (looking tough and threatening Jews), with your silly nom de plume of “Stand For Truth”. Birds of a feather.

      • Stand For Truth says:

        Regretfully, when a reply in a discussion resorts to personal attacks,it portrays a person resorting to childish tantrums or an imbecile.
        Do you have anything interesting to discuss?

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