Israeli Ground Invasion Nears Gates of Gaza City

On Wednesday, the officials from Australia, Bulgaria, France, the U.K. and the U.S announced the first list of their nationals who left Gaza via Rafah border to Egypt…reports Asian Lite News

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Thursday said that the Israeli forces continue to advance in Gaza as per plan.

“The IDF continues to advance in the Gaza City, conducting face-to-face battles with Hamas and deepening the fighting. The battle is progressing as we have planned,” IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.

Israeli forces launched an expanded ground invasion on last Friday calling it the “2nd stage” of war against Hamas and have since made “significant” advances into the Gaza.

“We are located at the gates of Gaza City,” said Brig General Itzik Cohen, commander of the 162nd Armored Division.

Meanwhile, US State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said that about 400 U.S citizens are seeking to leave the territory immediately, taking the total to more than 1,000 if you included their family members also, USA Today reported.

On Wednesday, the officials from Australia, Bulgaria, France, the U.K. and the U.S announced the first list of their nationals who left Gaza via Rafah border to Egypt. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists said that as of Thursday at least 33 journalists have been killed in Israeli bombing.

On Wednesday, the U.N reported that so far 227 aid trucks have been allowed into Gaza since the borders opened between Gaza and Rafa which included 10 trucks carrying water, food and medicine.

The U.N said that the expanded Israeli ground operations have complicated an already complex situation cutting off Gaza and northern Gaza from the rest of the strip, preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the south to some 300,000 internally displaced persons in the north.

Meanwhile, the connectivity was gradually being restored in Gaza. Internet and communication services have been repeatedly interrupted in Gaza and humanitarian aid agencies have warned that blackouts severely disrupt their work, media reports said.

Hamas Health Ministry has said that the Palestinian death toll has reached 8,805 while the West Bank authorities have confirmed the killing of 130 Palestinians in West Bank by Israeli forces.

Also 1,400 Israelis have died most of them civilians in the first hours of the October 7 Hamas attack, the Israeli authorities said.

As per the U.N Humanitarian Coordination Affairs Office, in Gaza, at least 3,648 children and 2,187 women have been killed while over 22,240 Palestinians have been injured by the Israeli soldiers.

On Tuesday, the Israeli airstrikes pounded the Jabaliya refugee camp and allegedly killed a “key” Hamas figure. It drew the ire of the U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whose spokesperson said he is “is appalled over the escalating violence in Gaza,” including the killing of Palestinians by Israeli airstrikes.

“He condemns the attack in strongest terms, any killings of civilians,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Intensified Conflict in Northern Gaza

The fighting between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hamas, in the nearly five-week-old war, has intensified in northern Gaza.

“This is not a small-scale operation,” Israeli military official Moshe Tetro told international media during an online briefing on Thursday. “Northern Gaza is the place of war.” 

Tetro, from the IDF unit that coordinates Israeli government activities in the Palestinian territories, said, “We call on the population of Gaza to go south, where we will allow humanitarian supplies.”

He said the displaced Gazans could return to their home areas when the war is over.  

But he seemed to downplay the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, following Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes and ground invasion.“We are not close to any kind of humanitarian crisis.”

According to media reports from the Middle East, citing Hamas-run health ministry, more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war so far.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie said in a statement, viewed on social media, that 40 percent of those dying in Gaza are children.

Tetro said the Hamas war casualty figures were not accurate.

He said Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalia neighbourhood in Gaza, for instance, did not kill hundreds, as reported in media. “This is a pure lie.”

Israel claimed it killed two Hamas commanders who were in the refugee camp. 

“Hamas is using the population of Gaza as a human shield,”he said, adding that members of the armed group are hiding in hospitals and schools. 

“We have intelligence that they are hiding underground,” he said referring to the network of tunnels said to build by Hamas over the years under the Gaza Strip.

Hamas launched barrages of missiles at Israel and rampaged through towns and villages in southern Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people and wounding many others. Hamas also kidnapped more than 200 Israeli and foreign nationals from Israel, including children and the elderly, and took them hostage.

“The hostages are being held against international humanitarian law,” said Lior Haiat, the spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry during the same media briefing. 

“You are either standing with Israel or you are with Hamas,” he said of the countries that did not condemn the October 7 attack on Israel. 

Other than facing a tough and long urban warfare in Gaza, the Israeli government will also have to fight the war’s diplomatic fallout.

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