Central Gaza Refugee Camps Bombarded by Israeli Forces in Israel-Hamas Conflict

Rafah, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel is expanding its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, bombarding Palestinian refugee camps in central Gaza and forcing residents to evacuate. The military issued orders on Tuesday for people to evacuate the area, a sign that the conflict may spread to other parts of the besieged territory.

Amid the ongoing violence, Gaza’s main telecom provider, Paltel, announced another “complete interruption” of services. This comes as Israel’s offensive, which began after an attack by the ruling Hamas militant group in October, shows no sign of letting up.

Despite international calls for a cease-fire and U.S. appeals for fewer civilian casualties, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the fight “isn’t close to finished.” Israeli forces have been engaged in heavy urban fighting in both northern Gaza and the southern city of Khan Younis, resulting in high numbers of civilian casualties.

The ongoing bombardment by Israeli forces has claimed more than 100 Palestinian lives since Christmas Eve, according to the U.N. human rights office. Israel has faced criticism for the high number of civilian deaths, and this has led to a decision to no longer grant automatic visas to U.N. employees. This move could further limit aid efforts in Gaza.

The situation in central Gaza has become increasingly dire, with residents describing intense bombing and airstrikes shaking the refugee camps. Many of the people in these camps were driven from their homes during the 1948 war, and are now crowded into ever-smaller areas.

Additionally, Israel is facing regional spillover, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stating that the country is involved in a “multi-arena war” from seven different fronts. This includes conflicts in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran.

As the conflict rages on, more than 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes. The U.N. has reported that a quarter of Gaza’s population is facing starvation due to Israel’s strict siege, which severely limits the amount of food, water, fuel, medicine and other supplies that can enter Gaza.

The U.N. Security Council has called for aid deliveries to Gaza to be sped up, but little progress has been made. The conflict shows no sign of abating, as Israel remains determined to eliminate Hamas’ capabilities in Gaza after the group’s attack in southern Israel on October 7.

At the Kerem Shalom border crossing, U.N. and Gazan medical workers received a truck carrying about 80 unidentified bodies that had been held by Israeli forces in northern Gaza. The bodies were transferred to local authorities for burial. Medical workers called the odors unbearable.

In the midst of this crisis, Hamas fighters continue to show resilience, as Israeli forces aim to destroy a significant amount of the group’s infrastructure. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant loss of life on both sides, with little hope for a peaceful resolution in the near future.

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