As Israeli ground forces engaged Hamas terrorists who were stationed in a vast network of tunnels, Palestinian health sources said that at least fifty Palestinians had died after Israeli airstrikes struck a heavily populated refugee camp in north Gaza on Tuesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected international requests for the war to end in order to facilitate the delivery of emergency aid to civilians who were suffering from severe shortages of food, medication, fuel, and potable water.
Officials from the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations reported that hospitals in Gaza were finding it difficult to treat the increasing number of casualties as power supplies ran out.
When tons of aerial explosives attacked residential dwellings in the center of the Jabalia refugee camp in urbanized north Gaza, more than 50 Palestinians were killed and 150 injured, according to officials at Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital.
The Israeli military did not immediately provide a statement. It has accused Hamas of hiding fighters, commanders, and weapons in residential buildings; the organization disputes these claims.
Video that Reuters was able to collect showed a wide area of devastation, complete with deep bomb craters and destroyed multi-story cement homes. People were using their hands to dig through piles of debris in search of loved ones, whether they were living or dead.
Outside the hospital in the nearby town of Beit Lahiya, medics laid the dead in a long line, swaddled in white blankets, while the injured, including crying children, were taken inside for treatment amidst chaotic scenes.
400 people are reported dead and injured in Jabalia, which is on the outskirts of Gaza City and is the major area of fighting between Israeli forces and tanks and dug-in Hamas fighters. A Hamas statement provided this information. Jabalia is a housing facility for families who have experienced internal displacement as a result of Israel’s wars since 1948.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the alleged casualty counts.
Tuesday saw another call for the protection of civilians caught up in the fighting by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who emphasized the need for all sides to act proportionately and with caution.
“Clearly defined guidelines established by international humanitarian law are unbreakable. It cannot be applied selectively and is not an a la carte menu,” Guterres stated in a statement.
TUNNELS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WAR
After three weeks of aerial bombardment, Israel is extending a four-day ground offensive into Gaza from the north, with the tunnels beneath the small enclave a key target. The move is intended to damage Hamas in retaliation for the Islamist group’s deadly surprise attack into southern Israel on October 7.
It is thought that some of the 240 captives that Israel claims Hamas took that day are being held in the tunnel complex, which presents an additional challenge for the Israelis in addition to the challenges of fighting in an urban area.
The Israeli military provided an update, stating that over the previous day, its forces had targeted around 300 targets, including Hamas military camps underground and anti-tank missile and rocket launch positions located beneath tunnel shafts.
According to it, militants retaliated with machine gun fire and anti-tank rockets. It stated that a number of militants had been killed, although it did not say how many.
In a statement, Hamas claimed that Israeli ground forces were suffering casualties as a result of the heavy fighting between its fighters and them. “The occupation is pushing its soldiers into proud Gaza, which will always be the cemetery of invaders,” declared Hamas.
The military stated on Tuesday that two Israeli troops had died in fighting in north Gaza, though it did not specify when.
The Israeli military has demanded on several occasions that residents of north Gaza evacuate southward in order to escape the main target of its armored assault. Residents claim that although hundreds of thousands have evacuated, many have stayed behind out of fear of being permanently uprooted and of the fatal Israeli shelling that has also affected the south.
Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said during a televised briefing in Jerusalem, “At the moment, at least we hope, as clean as possible of non-combatants because that is the goal we have set for ourselves, to know how to deal primarily with terrorists and not harm non-combatants.”
“However, the turns of the south and the center will arrive. This is a protracted war, as we have stated,” Hanegbi remarked.
Since October 7, 8,525 individuals, including 3,542 children, have died as a result of Israeli assaults, according to Gaza health authorities. Of the approximately 2.3 million civilians living in Gaza, almost 1.4 million have become homeless, according to U.N. officials.
Israel claims that on October 7, some 1,400 people—mostly civilians—were murdered in a cross-border Hamas attack.
Reuters has not been able to independently confirm the number of casualties.
The armed branch of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, reported that militants fired rockets at four Israeli vehicles during an early-morning skirmish with Israeli forces encroaching into Gaza’s southern region on Tuesday.
According to a later report, fighters attacked Israeli armoured vehicles that were entering Gaza’s central Jur al-Dik neighborhood. They destroyed three of the vehicles with al Yassin 105mm shells before making their safe retreat to evade an Israeli mortar fire.
Regarding Hamas’ accounts, the Israeli military did not immediately respond.
A SIMPLE HUMANITARIAN AID TRICK
According to U.N. officials, many fewer humanitarian relief vehicles than necessary have arrived at the beleaguered enclave. Over the past week, aid trucks have been making their way from Egypt into Gaza through Rafah, the main gate that does not border Israel.
However, a lack of fuel, which Israel claims Hamas may use to wage war, as well as store looting, civilian displacement, and Israeli shelling that has clogged roads with debris are impeding the delivery of aid in Gaza.
Tuesday saw the sounding of air raid sirens in the Red Sea tourist town of Eilat in far southern Israel. The Israeli military claimed to have downed an approaching “aerial target” during the raid.
The Houthis of Yemen, who are supported by Iran, claimed to have launched a “large number” of ballistic missiles and drones towards Israel in help of Palestinian terrorists, marking their third operation against Israel and promising more to come. This was almost 1,000 miles south of Gaza.
Their remark validated the growing threat of spillover from the Gaza conflict, which has alarmed several countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.