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Israel Intensifies On-Ground Operations in Southern Gaza, Strikes UN Schools in North

December 5, 2023

Israel’s military expanded its ground operations into the south of Gaza on 4 December, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians. At least 50 people were killed and hundreds injured in Israeli attacks on two schools in northern Gaza, and communications were cut off from the enclave for the fourth time since 7 October.

Israel killed at least 900 people in Gaza since the week-long truce ended on Friday, 1 December, Palestinian authorities said.

The latest death toll in Palestine amounts to at least 16,000 in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, in more than eight weeks of intense attacks and heavy bombardment by Israel.

Israeli Airstrikes Kill at Least 50 in Khan Younis and 50 in the North

Israeli airstrikes in the south Gazan city of Khan Younis killed at least 50 Palestinians and injured dozens, Palestinian state-run news agency WAFA reported on 5 November. Sources revealed that 10 other civilians were killed in an Israeli bombing that targeted a house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Intense Israeli airstrikes hit the south of Gaza on 4 December, including in areas where Israel had told people to seek shelter, in an on-ground campaign against Hamas militias in the south of Gaza, according to WAFA correspondents.

Earlier on 4 December, Israel ordered the evacuation of Palestinians from Khan Younis.

“Israeli forces’ bombardment is ongoing following another evacuation order to move people from Khan Younis into Rafah. The order created panic, fear and anxiety. At least an additional 60,000 people were forced to move to already overcrowded UNRWA shelters, with more asking to be sheltered, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement on 4 December.

“Many have already been displaced more than once fleeing the war in other parts of Gaza,” he added.

The UNRWA chief called on Israel to open the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Egypt to allow for the uninterrupted flow of aid, warning that the failure to do so constitutes a violation of international law.

Over in the north of Gaza, Israeli jet fighters attacked two schools on 4 December, killing at least 50 people and injuring hundreds, WAFA reported.

The UN-run Salah Ad-Din school and the Martyr Assad Saftawi school were providing shelter to displaced people in Gaza’s al-Darraj neighborhood. Dozens of bodies and wounded civilians were transported to al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Al-Zeitoun neighborhood.

Communications Cut in Gaza for the Fourth Time
Communication services were cut off in Gaza for the fourth time since 7 October, including fixed mainlines, mobiles, and internet services, the Ministry of Communications said.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said on 4 December that it had lost contact with its teams in Gaza due to a near-total communications blackout, which has disrupted internet and telecommunications services.

The Conflict So Far
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of 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.

Over 15,899 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 6,600 children — and over 41,316 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 259 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 3,365 have been injured.

The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and limited aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.

Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

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