The Israeli army deployed dozens of tanks to southern Gaza on Monday, escalating its “aggressive” measures against Hamas and its allies in the blockaded territory. This move comes despite growing global concern over the increasing number of civilian casualties.
Weeks after Israel deployed ground forces in the north of the Gaza Strip, the army has been air-dropping leaflets in parts of the south, telling Palestinians to flee to other areas.
Witnesses told the media that tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers were seen on Monday near the southern city of Khan Yunis, which is packed with internally displaced Palestinians.
The army said that it was taking “aggressive” action against “Hamas and other terrorist organizations” in Khan Yunis, warning that the Salah al-Din road in the north and east of the city “constitutes a battlefield.”
Three more Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes in the northern Gaza Strip, raising the number of troop deaths there to 75, the army said on Monday.
More air strikes also hit northern Gaza where Hamas’ armed wing reported clashes with Israeli tanks.
Rocket salvos were fired again from Gaza towards Israeli territory.
Conditions worsened on Monday with all mobile and telephone services across Gaza severed “due to the cut-off of main fiber routes from the Israeli side,” the PalTel company said.
A visual analysis by The New York Times after Hamas’ October 7 attack revealed that a rocket launched from Gaza during the attack hit an Israeli military base said to be the site of nuclear-capable missiles and caused a fire there, the paper reported.
The United States, Israel’s ally, has asked Israel to let more fuel in, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.
Gazans were already short of food, water and other essentials, including fuel.
At the United Nations on Monday, Israel and Palestinian representatives traded accusations of “genocide” over the war, and both sides demanded an international response.
The Israel-occupied West Bank has also seen a surge in violence, with more than 250 Palestinians killed there since the war began, according to Palestinian authorities.
Despite the war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, suspended when the war began, resumed on Monday.
He is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, which he denies.
Khalil Wakim, with AFP