Israeli strikes across Gaza kill dozens of Palestinians, even in largely emptied north (2024)

DEIR AL BALAH, Gaza Strip—

Israeli forces bombarded cities, towns and refugee camps across Gaza on Thursday, killing dozens of people in a widening air and ground offensive against Hamas that has forced thousands more to flee from homes and shelters in recent days.

More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, and about 85% of the population of 2.3 million has been driven from their homes. Much of the northern Gaza Strip has been leveled, and it has been largely depopulated and isolated from the rest of the territory for weeks. Many fear a similar fate awaits the south as Israel expands its offensive to most of the tiny enclave.

Israel has vowed to dismantle Hamas — which is still putting up stiff resistance, even in the north — and bring back more than 100 hostages still held by the militant group after its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, in which at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed.


Israeli officials have brushed off international calls for a cease-fire — saying it would amount to a victory for Hamas.

The United States — while providing crucial support for the offensive — has urged Israel to take greater measures to spare civilians and allow in more aid. But humanitarian workers say the amount of food, fuel and medical supplies entering is still far below what is needed, and 1 in 4 Palestinians in Gaza are starving, according to United Nations officials.

An Israeli airstrike on a home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya — one of the first targets of the ground invasion that began in October — buried at least 21 people, including women and children, according to a family member.

Bassel Kheir al-Din, a journalist with a local TV station, said the strike flattened his family’s house and severely damaged three neighboring homes. He said that 12 members of his family — including three children ages 2, 7 and 8 — were buried and presumed dead, and that nine neighbors were missing.

In central Gaza, Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded the built-up Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps, leveling buildings, residents said. Israel said this week that it would expand its ground offensive into central Gaza. It typically launches waves of airstrikes and shelling before troops and tanks move in.

A hospital in the nearby town of Deir al Balah received the bodies of 25 people killed overnight, including five children and seven women, hospital records showed Thursday. Nonstop explosions could be heard throughout the night in the town — where hundreds of thousands of people have sought shelter, with many spending cold nights sleeping on sidewalks.


“It was another night of killing and massacres,” said Saeed Moustafa, a resident of the Nuseirat camp. He said people were still crying out from the rubble of a house hit by an airstrike Wednesday.

“We are unable to get them out. We hear their screams, but we don’t have equipment,” he said.

Farther south, in Khan Yunis, the Palestinian Red Crescent said a strike near its Al Amal Hospital killed at least 10 people and wounded an additional 12. Much of the city’s population has left, but many are sheltering near Al Amal and another hospital, hoping they will be spared from the bombardment.

A strike Thursday evening destroyed a residential building in the town of Rafah, at the southernmost end of Gaza, killing at least 23 people, according to the media office of the nearby Kuwait hospital.

Outside Gaza, Israeli security forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who they say got out of his car and stabbed two security workers at a checkpoint between the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The occupied West Bank has experienced a surge in violence since Oct. 7, with more than 300 Palestinians killed in unrest and clashes with Israeli forces.

Rami abu Mosab, who lives in the Bureij refugee camp, said thousands of people have fled their homes in recent days because of the intense bombardment. He plans to remain there because he doesn’t feel that anywhere in Gaza is safe.

“Here is death and there is death,” he said, “To die in your home is better.”

Bureij and Nuseirat are among several camps across the region that were built to house hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation. They have since grown into crowded residential neighborhoods.

About 700,000 Palestinian fled or were driven from their homes during that conflict, an exodus the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe. About 1.9 million have been displaced within Gaza since Oct. 7.

As Israel has broadened its offensive, fleeing Palestinians have packed into areas along the Egyptian border and the southern Mediterranean coastline, where shelters and tent camps are overflowing. Even in those areas, Israel continues to strike what it says are militant targets.

The U.N. humanitarian office said the scale and intensity of the fighting impede its aid deliveries. The office, known as OCHA, cited blocked roads, a scarcity of fuel and telecommunications blackouts as some of the obstacles hampering the humanitarian response.

Still, it said the World Food Program had provided food parcels to about half a million people in U.N. shelters in southern and central Gaza since Saturday.

The Israeli military blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas, which it says positions fighters, tunnels and rocket launchers in dense residential areas. But the military rarely comments on individual strikes.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has already been one of the most devastating military campaigns in recent history. More than 21,300 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. An additional 55,600 have been wounded, it says. Those counts do not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

The Israeli military says that it has killed thousands of militants and that 167 of its soldiers have been killed and hundreds wounded in the ground offensive.

Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press reporters Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv and Najib Jobain in Rafah contributed to this report.

I am a geopolitical analyst with a deep understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ongoing situation in the Gaza Strip. My expertise is based on extensive research, analysis of historical events, and continuous monitoring of the current geopolitical landscape.

Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. Israeli Offensive Against Hamas:

    • The article discusses an Israeli offensive against Hamas, both in the air and on the ground, aimed at dismantling the militant group. This conflict has been ongoing and involves military actions by Israel to curb the activities of Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization.
  2. Casualties and Displacement:

    • The report mentions a significant number of Palestinian casualties, with over 20,000 reported deaths and approximately 85% of the population in Gaza being displaced from their homes. This indicates the severe humanitarian impact of the conflict.
  3. International Response:

    • The article touches on the international response to the conflict, with the United States providing crucial support to Israel's offensive. However, there are also calls for a ceasefire from the international community, highlighting the diplomatic aspects of the crisis.
  4. Humanitarian Crisis:

    • Humanitarian workers express concerns about the insufficient aid reaching Gaza, leading to shortages of food, fuel, and medical supplies. The United Nations officials claim that 1 in 4 Palestinians in Gaza is starving, underscoring the gravity of the humanitarian crisis.
  5. Airstrikes and Ground Invasion:

    • The military actions involve Israeli airstrikes targeting various locations in Gaza, including refugee camps and residential areas. Additionally, there is a ground invasion, particularly in the northern part of Gaza.
  6. Palestinian Red Crescent and Hospitals:

    • The Palestinian Red Crescent reports casualties near hospitals, indicating the impact on healthcare facilities. The strikes on residential buildings and hospitals contribute to the increasing number of casualties.
  7. West Bank Violence:

    • The article briefly mentions a surge in violence in the occupied West Bank since October 7, with over 300 Palestinians killed in unrest and clashes with Israeli forces. This expands the scope of the conflict beyond Gaza.
  8. Geographical Reference - Gaza Strip and Refugee Camps:

    • Specific locations such as Beit Lahiya, Bureij, Nuseirat, Deir al Balah, and Rafah are mentioned, providing a geographical context to the conflict. Refugee camps, originally established in 1948, have become densely populated residential neighborhoods.
  9. Historical Reference - Nakba:

    • The article refers to the Nakba, the Palestinian term for the 1948 exodus during the war surrounding Israel's creation, highlighting the historical context and long-standing issues contributing to the conflict.
  10. Civilian Casualties and Blame Game:

    • There is a mention of the Israeli military attributing the high civilian death toll to Hamas, emphasizing the ongoing blame game between the involved parties.

These concepts collectively paint a grim picture of the humanitarian, geopolitical, and historical dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly in the context of the recent events in Gaza.

Israeli strikes across Gaza kill dozens of Palestinians, even in largely emptied north (2024)


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