Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Israel Presses Gaza Offensive Amid Deadly Airstrikes

A Palestinian girl walks at the site of an Israeli strike, outside a school sheltering displaced people in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 10, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled
A Palestinian girl walks at the site of an Israeli strike, outside a school sheltering displaced people in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 10, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled
TT

Israel Presses Gaza Offensive Amid Deadly Airstrikes

A Palestinian girl walks at the site of an Israeli strike, outside a school sheltering displaced people in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 10, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled
A Palestinian girl walks at the site of an Israeli strike, outside a school sheltering displaced people in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 10, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

Israeli forces pressed their offensive in north and central Gaza on Wednesday, hours after an airstrike on a tent encampment that Palestinian officials said killed more than two dozen people.

Leaflets were dropped on Gaza City, this time with a map marking "safe routes" for the evacuation of the whole city, not just certain districts. The Israeli leaflets urge civilians to head south along two routes to the central Gaza Strip.

Hamas said the renewed Israeli campaign killed more than 60 Palestinians across the enclave on Tuesday and threatened to derail efforts to secure a ceasefire in the nine-month-old war with talks to resume in Doha on Wednesday.

The airstrike hit the tents of displaced families outside a school in the town of Abassan east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, killing at least 29 people, most of them women and children, Palestinian medical officials said.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces deepened their incursion into two Gaza City districts. Soldiers carried out house-to-house searches in some areas and tanks shelled several homes, according to residents.

Israeli forces patrolled the main road to the coast, snipers commandeered rooftops of some high-rise buildings still standing and tanks were stationed inside the headquarters of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, residents said.

The Israeli military said in a statement its forces were continuing operations in Gaza City against militants of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who they said had operated from inside the UNRWA facilities, using it as a base for attacks.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had received dozens of desperate calls from residents in Gaza City trapped in their homes but their teams were unable to reach them because of the intensity of the bombing.
The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters fought with Israeli forces operating in the area with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs, and sometimes in close-range combat.

In the central Gaza camp of Al-Nuseirat, medics said six Palestinians, including children, were killed in an airstrike on a house early on Wednesday, while another airstrike killed two people and wounded several others in Khan Younis.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
TT

Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave's biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday.

The offensive, 10 months into Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as US-backed mediators sought to finalize a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7.

According to Reuters, the Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.

Both residents and rescue teams cautioned that while tanks withdrew from some areas, Israeli snipers and tanks continued to control high ground at some locations, and warned residents against trying to return to their homes in those areas.

"There are bodies scattered in the streets, dismembered bodies, there are bodies of entire families, there are also bodies inside a home of an entire family that was completely burned," Gaza Strip Civil Defense spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in comments carried by media in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Israeli military had said on Thursday that its forces were working to dismantle Hamas capabilities in Gaza City, and that it "follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm." It said the same was not true of Hamas.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said they had fought fierce battles against Israeli forces, attacking them with anti-tank rockets and mortar fire, killing and wounding many. There has been no Israeli army comment on those claims.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza's residents before the war, Gaza City was largely razed to the ground in late 2023, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have returned to homes in the ruins. Israel has once again ordered them out, though it is unclear where residents can go safely. Israel controls most of Gaza's borders and is also attacking central and southern Gaza.