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Israel Airstrikes Resume After Temporary Ceasefire in Gaza Expired

December 1, 2023
Photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

In a renewed escalation of hostilities, Israeli warplanes have resumed airstrikes on Gaza, prompting Palestinian civilians to seek shelter. 

The week-long truce collapsed with no plan for an extension. The Israeli military stated that it had recommenced its operations, citing Hamas’s rocket attacks as a violation of the truce. Sources at the IDF told the BBC that another reason for the hostilities was that Hamas failed to fulfill its agreement to release all women and children as per their initial commitment.

“Hamas violated the operational pause, and in addition, fired toward Israeli territory,” the Israeli military said in a post on X. “The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has resumed combat against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.”

The airstrikes are reportedly targeting what the military refers to as “terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip. 

Reports indicate that the Israeli military has dropped leaflets in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, advising residents to move further south for their safety. The leaflets, shared on social media, characterize Khan Younis as a “dangerous combat zone” and instruct people in eastern areas of the city to seek shelter in Rafah, near the Egyptian border. 

Hamas blamed the termination of the truce on Israel, accusing it of rejecting all proposals to release additional hostages held by militants in the enclave. Shortly after the truce lapsed, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza reported 32 casualties from airstrikes within the first two hours.

James Elder from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), told BBC World Service’s Newsday that the current situation in south Gaza is “terrifying.” He described it as “horrendous for people,” emphasizing the visible fear on their faces. Reporting from a hospital in the south of Gaza, James noted that a strike occurred within a close proximity of 50 to 100 meters from the facility.

He painted a grim picture of the hospital being “overflowing” with thousands of people, with some families residing on mattresses for weeks. Describing the end of the ceasefire as “the nightmare that everyone utterly feared,” he warned against the imminent threats of rain and poor sanitation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is facing escalating pressure to outline its strategy for safeguarding civilians in the blockaded territory. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that any renewed military operation by Israel must incorporate humanitarian plans to protect civilians and minimize further casualties among innocent Palestinians.

Blinken specified that Israel should “clearly and precisely” identify safe zones in southern and central Gaza, ensuring civilians can seek refuge away from the line of fire. Reports indicate that Israeli military officials have proposed various plans, including relocating hundreds of thousands of people to Gaza’s coast or the nearly deserted northern part of the territory. However, these proposals have not garnered international acceptance due to concerns about feasibility and acceptability.

During the seven-day truce, Hamas released 110 hostages, while Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners.

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