Israel resumes Gaza military operation after Hamas cease-fire ends

December 1, 2023
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Gazans reported seeing and hearing airstrikes across the enclave’s north and south, as well as artillery shelling along the border to the east. Hamas-affiliated media reported heavy gunfire and that clashes were occurring in the north, the focus of Israel’s campaign so far. And NBC News’ team in Gaza witnessed dead and injured people arriving at hospitals in the center and south of the strip.

“Every 10-15 minutes there have been strikes, some of it 500 meters (550 yards) away from us,” Mohammad Ghalayini, 44, who lives in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, told NBC News in a voice note, with the distinct buzz of an Israeli drone discernable in the background.

‘Crammed’ into southern Gaza

Israel had previously urged Palestinians to leave northern Gaza, the focus of its initial military campaign, fueling an exodus of some 1.7 million displaced residents now packed into the south of the enclave. But on Friday it dropped new leaflets on Khan Younis, warning residents that it had now become a combat zone and telling them to relocate again to the southern city of Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

The IDF also published an online interactive map, dividing Gaza into hundreds of zones that it said would be used to warn residents where the fighting would be centered.

Ghalayini, who received one of the leaflets, voiced the common Palestinian belief that this was part of a broader plan to get them to leave Gaza so Israelis can resettle there. Though this idea has gained support from some Israeli cabinet members, the government says that it is trying only to remove Hamas and has no plans to stay in the strip.

“One fear is that, when crammed into a smaller area, people will breakout through the border and Egypt may have no choice” but to accept them, he said, accusing Israel of a “cynical plan being implemented in plain sight.”

The renewed outbreak of fighting follows a week of respite for the 2.3 million civilians in Gaza, who have endured almost two months of aerial and ground assault, killing more than 15,000 people including over 5,000 children, according to local authorities whose figures are backed by American and United Nations officials.

Israel launched the campaign after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which the IDF says some 1,200 people were killed and around 240 taken captive.

The pause allowed aid into the besieged, impoverished enclave, which has lurched further into a humanitarian crisis during the war. During that time 105 hostages were released from Gaza, officials said, while Israel has released 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Now there are also fears of the violence spreading, after a deadly shooting at a bus stop in Jerusalem and an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian health officials said two boys were killed in the raid, one of them 8 years old.



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