October 30, 2023 | 22:08 PM
GAZA/JERUSALEM – Israeli troops and tanks attacked Gaza’s main northern city from the east and west on Monday, three days after it began ground operations in the Palestinian enclave that have increased international pressure for civilians to be protected.
As it increased ground operations in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian residents are in desperate need of food, gasoline, and clean water as the war moves into its fourth week, Israel’s military stated that it had hit more than 600 militant targets in the last several days.
“IDF soldiers killed dozens of terrorists who barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels, and attempted to attack the troops,” the military said, saying that four well-known Hamas operatives were among them.
As it pursues Hamas fighters it believes are hidden in a maze of tunnels beneath Gaza City, Israel launched a major offensive into Gaza late on Friday and reiterated demands for residents to relocate from the tiny coastal enclave’s northern to southern directions.
Residents stated on Monday that Israeli forces had launched numerous airstrikes on the eastern side of the area. Some even mentioned hearing the sound of tanks moving in during intense gunfire.
Subsequently, locals reported to the media office of the Hamas-run government that the tanks had retreated in the direction of the heavily guarded perimeter surrounding Gaza. The armed branch of the militants said that heavy mortar fire had forced them back.
The north-south coast route was struck multiple times by air and sea, according to locals, west of the area where Israel displayed tanks on the Mediterranean shore on Sunday.
Fearful of losing their houses and alarmed by reports of Israeli airstrikes farther south, a large number of Palestinians have stayed in Gaza City.
According to Palestinian health officials, airstrikes on Monday struck close to several facilities in the city, including the Turkish Friendship Hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital, and Al-Quds Hospital. In hospitals in the north, 117,000 civilians are taking refuge alongside thousands of patients and medical professionals, according to the U.N. humanitarian office OCHA.
Although Hamas disputes the accusations, Israel has claimed that the organization has placed command centers and other military hardware in Gaza hospitals.
Air strikes were also audible east of Khan Younis, where Palestinian media said that Hamas engaged in combat with Israeli troops, and in the southern villages of Rafah, close to Gaza’s only unobstructed border crossing with Egypt.
While telecom companies reported that certain areas of the north were down, OCHA declared on Monday that services were “largely restored” following the easing of the phone and internet outages that had shut down Gaza on Friday.
CLASHES IN WEST BANK
According to Israel, 1,400 people lost their lives when militants led by Hamas overran the southern region of the nation on October 7 and kidnapped 229 individuals. Thus far, Hamas has made four releases and claimed that 50 people have died in retaliation strikes.
There are 2.3 million people living in Hamas-run Gaza, and medical authorities there said on Monday that 8,306 people had died, including 3,457 minors.
According to OCHA, it was difficult for rescuers to get people.
“As of 29 October, about 1,800 people, including at least 940 children, have been reported missing and may be trapped or dead under the rubble, awaiting rescue or recovery,” added the statement.
The U.N. agency added that no casualties had been reported from the indiscriminate rocket fire that armed groups continued to make against Israel.
The Israeli Defense Ministry released video footage purporting to depict military maneuvers within Gaza, including tanks on a major thoroughfare, soldiers inside buildings, and airstrikes against what it claimed were Hamas-occupied structures.
The location and timing of the footage could not be independently confirmed by Reuters, and the Israeli military stated it would not provide the area for filming.
“We are attacking from the air while moving from the ground to identify the terrorists. Terrorists and ground forces are also directly interacting. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the military, stated that the fighting was occurring within the Gaza Strip.
In Jenin, an Israeli-occupied West Bank city, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Islamist organization, claimed to be fighting Israeli soldiers. Four individuals were reportedly murdered there on Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Israel claimed that an airstrike killed multiple fighters.
Israel claimed to have detained 700 Hamas members in the West Bank, where it claims its forces are frequently targeted by gunfire.
Since October 7, 121 individuals have died in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 1,680 persons, including women, the elderly, and minors, were held, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Association.
AIRPORT UNREST IN RUSSIA
Large-scale protests in favor of the Palestinians have taken place all around the world as a result of the war, and incidents of antisemitic and Islamophobic harassment and violence are rising.
When an Israeli jet landed on Sunday, hundreds of anti-Israel protestors rushed the airport in the mostly Muslim area of Dagestan, Russia, claiming control of the facilities and the arrest of 60 persons.
Twenty individuals, according to local officials, were hurt before the disturbance was put down by security personnel. Security personnel informed Reuters that all of the passengers on board were safe.
International appeals for a “humanitarian pause” to let aid into Gaza have been sparked by Israel’s increasing ground attacks on the Gaza Strip.
According to a source briefed on the negotiations between Israel and Hamas mediated by Qatar, Hamas demands the release of all civilian hostages held by the terrorists in exchange for a five-day ceasefire in Israeli operations that would enable fuel and aid into Gaza.
According to the Israeli authorities, nearly 50% of the hostages detained by Hamas own passports from 25 different nations.
The largest delivery to date, according to OCHA, consisted of 33 trucks bringing food, water, and medical supplies into Gaza on Sunday. However, many more were needed to address immediate demands and avert social unrest. On Sunday, people flocked to relief stores in pursuit of food.
Concerns have been raised that the conflict would extend, particularly to Lebanon, where Iran backs Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region.There are worries that the war will spread, especially to Lebanon, where the Israeli army and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia have been exchanging gunfire. Iran supports Hamas and other militant groups in the region.