War in Israel: For every Hamas fighter killed, two civilians are killed

Heavy shelling of Khan Yunis

Screenshot 7 Israel, War

Israeli airstrikes hit around 200 Hamas targets in Gaza, the IDF said on Monday, as it expanded its operations in the southern part of the enclave – a place where Israel previously urged people to move for protection.

The number of civilians killed in Gaza is "rising rapidly", the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said.

For every Hamas fighter killed in the Gaza Strip, two civilians die, senior Israeli military officers said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"I can't say it's good that we're outnumbered two to one," a Chahal officer told reporters, insisting that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and this is its "core strategy." The Palestinian Islamist movement denies this.

"We hope that this ratio will be much lower in the next phase of the war," he added.

At least 15.899 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since Oct. 7, including more than 375 in the previous 24 hours, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry said Monday.

Businesses throughout the enclave

Israel is expanding its ground operations throughout Gaza, with ground forces now operating in the southern part. Israel's targets in northern Gaza are "almost complete," according to the head of the Israeli army's armored corps. However, the IDF also said "heavy fighting" was continuing - and that two soldiers had been killed during "fighting" in northern Gaza.

Israeli media reports that the army is pounding the town of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. According to a report in the digital edition of the Times of Israel, facilities that the Israeli army considers to belong to Hamas in the city are being hit. Earlier dozens of tanks, armored personnel carriers and construction equipment were seen moving towards it, according to press reports.

Last Sunday, Chahal announced that he was expanding his ground operations to "all sectors" of the Gaza Strip, amid international calls for the protection of Palestinian civilians.

Late at night the Israeli army bombarded an area near the Kamal Antoine hospital in northern Gaza. According to the journalist Anas Al-Sharif who is in the hospital the situation was "very serious".

"There is damage inside due to the heavy fall of shrapnel on the hospital building and the evacuees in the hospital yard," Al-Sharif said as explosions rang out in the background.

Video was also released yesterday showing a senior Hamas official being taken to a hospital in the Gaza Strip. The footage shows a crowd of people waiting outside Nasser Hospital. An ambulance arrives and a car emerges from which a man who is said to be Nizar Awadala gets out. Information circulating on social networks, which has not been cross-referenced, states that the trusted aide of the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, died a short time later from his wounds.

Displacements and humanitarian aid

UNRWA reported that nearly 1,9 million people, more than 80% of the enclave's total population, have been displaced since the start of the war.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israeli forces to spare civilians further suffering and avoid actions that would worsen the "catastrophic humanitarian situation" in Gaza.

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoliarcic, who arrived on Monday in the Gaza Strip, denounced the unbearable suffering of the population and called for a "political solution".

In a video she sent to the media, the head of the ICRC calls for "the protection of civilians" in the face of the "moral failure" of the international community.

“The ICRC will do everything in its power to help alleviate suffering and reduce it, but we cannot do it alone. Moreover, the solution is not only humanitarian, it needs a political solution", he underlined.

In the Gaza Strip, a "scenario even more out of hell" is taking shape, in which humanitarian operations may not be enough to meet the needs, a UN official warned on Monday, as Israel's military tightens the belt on the Palestinian pouch.

After hostilities resumed on December 1, following a seven-day ceasefire, "Israeli military operations expanded into southern Gaza, forcing tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in increasingly compressed areas in desperate need of food, water, shelter and security," Lynn Hastings, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories, said in a statement.

About 180 trucks of international aid were sent through the Rafah crossing to Gaza on Monday, according to Israeli officials.

The trucks, carrying food, water, medical equipment and other supplies, were sent "at the request of the US administration and in coordination with Egypt," a spokesman for Israel's Coordinator of Governmental Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said.

"All equipment was inspected at the Nishana crossing before it was approved for entry into the Gaza Strip," the statement said, referring to the location where Israel verifies goods being transported before they enter Gaza.

The amount of aid is similar to what Gaza received during the seven-day ceasefire that had just expired.

Only 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid and 69.000 liters of fuel entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement early Tuesday local time.

"This is well below the daily average of 170 trucks and 110.000 liters of fuel that had entered during the humanitarian pause implemented between November 24 and 30," the statement said.

Push for civilian protection and hostage releases

US officials have stepped up their warnings to protect civilian life as Israel expands its offensive, but US national security adviser Jake Sullivan declined to consider whether Israel has been more precise in its military operation. He said Israel has asked people to leave areas identified for strikes.

Sullivan, who said he had phone calls over the weekend about developments in Gaza, says Hamas is refusing to release female civilians.

Israeli authorities said on Friday they were resuming their military operations because Hamas had not released all the female hostages.

"It appears that one of the reasons they don't want to release women they're holding hostage and that this moratorium has collapsed is that they don't want those women to tell what happened to them while they're being held," State's spokesman told reporters. Dept. Matthew Miller.

Negotiations for the release of additional hostages from Gaza appear highly unlikely to resume soon, US administration officials also said.

Source: protothema.gr