Home News Gaza resumes confrontation with artillery after Hamas regroups

Gaza resumes confrontation with artillery after Hamas regroups

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Fighting elsewhere in the Palestinian enclave on Sunday prompted warnings that the militants could remain a force long into the future as the Israeli military stepped up pressure on Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza.

Close ground fighting broke out between Hamas fighters and Israeli troops in parts of northern Gaza over the weekend, both sides said on Sunday, even as the world’s attention was focused on the southern city of Rafah, where Israel escalated military operations last week.

It has become a common scene in Gaza over the course of the seven-month war: After fierce fighting, Israel declares Hamas to have cleared the area, only to return after the militants reorganize their forces.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was concerned that Israel’s failure to set a template for governance in Gaza meant its victory might not be “sustainable” and be followed by “chaos, anarchy and, ultimately, Israel’s victory”. It’s Hamas again. “

Blinken’s warning came as the Israeli military said its soldiers had “neutralized a number” of militants in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood. In nearby Jabaliya, civilians were ordered to evacuate on Saturday and troops moved in overnight after fighter jets struck more than two dozen targets, the military said. The operation “was based on intelligence information regarding Hamas’ attempts to regroup,” the statement said.

Hamas said on Sunday that its militants engaged in “violent clashes” with Israeli soldiers near Jabaliya and fired large-caliber mortars at Israeli forces in Zeitoun.

Neither claim can be independently confirmed.

Palestinian television, affiliated with the Palestinian Authority and a rival to Hamas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, aired videos showing civilians, many of them women and children, fleeing northern Gaza. Some walked, others rode bicycles, drove cars or piled on carts pulled by donkeys.

“I am deeply saddened by the rapid deterioration of the situation in Gaza,” said Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. a statement About the battle in the north.

In the southernmost city of Rafah, more than a million Palestinians have fled to safety since the October war began, and Gazans are on the move again, fearing an imminent full-scale Israeli presence in the city.

Israel has been facing intense international pressure – including from its closest ally, the United States – not to launch a full-scale invasion of Rafah. Israel says it is determined to root out the militants who led the October 7 attack on Israel.

But Hamas’ top leaders in Gaza, including Yahya SinwarThey were not hiding in Rafah, according to U.S. officials, and the intelligence could undermine Israel’s case for a major military operation in the city.

U.S. officials said Israeli intelligence agencies agreed with the U.S. assessment. Spy agencies from both countries believe Sinwar likely never left the network of tunnels beneath the major northern city of Khan Younis, according to U.S. officials. The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence assessments.

Nonetheless, Israel has been increasing pressure on Rafah.

The United Nations’ main aid agency for Palestinians in Gaza said earlier on Sunday that about 300,000 people had fled Rafah in the past week. Another organization, the World Food Program, warned that a full-scale invasion of the city would be “catastrophic.”

Gaza’s largest telecommunications company said on Sunday that Internet services were disrupted in parts of southern Gaza due to Israeli military operations. Doctors Without Borders said it had begun transferring the last 22 patients at Indonesia’s Rafah field hospital to other facilities because the facility “can no longer guarantee their safety.”

On Sunday, Israeli citizens are celebrating Memorial Day, a national day of mourning that has become even more poignant this year. At 8pm, minute-long sirens sounded across the country, bringing pedestrians and traffic to a standstill on the streets.

Even in normal years, commemorations of soldiers and victims of terror attacks are sacrosanct in Israel. Israel is a small country, and many people know people who have been killed or injured in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli authorities said that on October 7, approximately 1,200 people were killed and 250 were taken hostage. The military says at least 272 soldiers have been killed since Israel invaded Gaza. Gaza officials say more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, with most Gazans forced to flee their homes.

Liam StarkAccording to reports from Tel Aviv, Aaron Boxermanfrom Jerusalem, and Eric NaguniFrom New York. Report contributors: Julian E.Barnes, Adam Entus and Mike Ives.

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