Israel launched an assault on the densely populated southern regions of Gaza on 2 December, prompting further evacuations and a mounting death toll as the war on Gaza escalates once more following the end of a week-long truce.
Israel resumed its attacks, unleashing a barrage of airstrikes and artillery fire. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that at least 700 Palestinians were killed in the last 24 hours, with the death toll expected to rise.
Israel has killed over 15,200 Palestinians since 7 October, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. 70 percent of the casualties are reported to be children and women, and the number of wounded individuals has surpassed 40,000 since the start of the war.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed the destruction of a block of 50 residential buildings in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City, as well as a six-story building in the Jabaliya refugee camp on Saturday, 2 December. The strikes left more than 60 people dead and hundreds buried under the debris.
Israel issued evacuation orders through leaflets and online maps, urging residents to flee targeted areas. This created panic and confusion among the already displaced population. The international community, including Israel’s biggest ally, the United States, has expressed concern over the escalating humanitarian crisis and the mounting civilian casualties.
During the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, US Vice President Kamala Harris described the suffering and devastation as devastating, calling for the protection of innocent Palestinians. However, despite these appeals, Israel has continued its offensive, claiming to have killed thousands of Palestinian fighters.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on several southern Israeli towns, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
More than 15,200 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 6,500 children — and over 40,000 others injured. Meanwhile, over 225 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and more than 2,700 injured. The death toll is no longer being regularly updated due to the collapse of the enclave’s health system.
Israel and Hamas reached an agreement on 22 November, announcing a four-day cessation of hostilities to facilitate the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza, 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and the entry of humanitarian aid. The truce, extended for three additional days, began on 24 November and ended on 1 December.
Egypt played an active role in mediating the ceasefire agreement along with Qatar and the United States. During an event in support of Palestine at Cairo International Stadium, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed that the forced relocation of Palestinians is a “red line” for Egypt, and will not be accepted.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and securing a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.