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Gaza war: Israel hits Gaza City as tanks re-enter central areas

Legend, Hundreds of Palestinian families have fled after being ordered to evacuate several areas of Gaza City.

  • Author, Sebastian Usher
  • Role, BBC News
  • Report by Jerusalem

Palestinians in Gaza City say they have suffered one of the most intense Israeli bombardments since Israel launched its war against Hamas after the group’s unprecedented attack on October 7.

Columns of Israeli tanks are reportedly approaching the city center from several different directions.

Gaza’s Civil Emergency Services estimate that a number of people have been killed but have not yet been able to reach them due to fighting in several districts in eastern and western Gaza City.

Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital was reportedly evacuated and its patients transferred to one of the only medical facilities still operating in the area: the already overcrowded Indonesian Hospital.

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official told the BBC that indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel over a ceasefire deal and the release of the hostages were expected to resume in Qatar within 48 hours.

A preliminary meeting will take place in Egypt on Monday between the heads of the American, Israeli and Egyptian intelligence services, the official said.

Ahead of the assault on Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued evacuation orders for several central neighborhoods, including Tuffah, Daraj and the Old City.

But one of the most attacked areas, Tel al-Hawa, was not included in the evacuation order posted online with a map by the IDF’s Arab spokesman on Sunday.

On Monday afternoon, the Israeli army issued a new order covering Tel al-Hawa as well as the Sabra and al-Rimal areas to the north and west.

Gaza City resident Abdel Ghani asked: “The enemy is behind us and the sea is in front of us, where will we go?”

Others also told the BBC that they did not know where to go, saying that their only option was to head north towards the Gaza port area.

Some fled districts after receiving an evacuation order, only to find that the area they were in was being bombed by Israel.

In al-Rimal, a freelance cameraman working for the BBC said he had not received any evacuation orders, but later learned that his neighbour had.

He left the area with his family and headed north. They are now in the port area but lack basic necessities. He says he is struggling to find water for his children.

In a statement, the Israeli military confirmed that it had launched what it called a new operation in Tel al-Halwa overnight, following what it said was intelligence about Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad infrastructure and fighters in the area.

The army also said it was operating at the headquarters of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, in the area.

The Israeli military said that at the start of the operation it issued warnings to civilians and would open a humanitarian corridor to allow people to leave the area.

Legend, The Israeli military said its operation targeted Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad infrastructure and fighters.

The latest Israeli offensive in Gaza comes as hopes grow that a ceasefire agreement will finally be reached.

A senior Palestinian official familiar with the negotiations told the BBC that indirect talks between Hamas and Israeli negotiating teams, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, will begin in Doha within the next 48 hours.

The official also said a preparatory meeting was to take place in Cairo on Monday between CIA Director William Burns, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, David Barnea, and Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

The three intelligence chiefs are then due to travel to Doha on Tuesday.

The official highlighted to the BBC several key sticking points from Hamas’s perspective:

  • Hamas wants Israeli forces to withdraw from the Rafah crossing with Egypt and the Philadelphia Corridor, a strip of land along the Egyptian border.
  • Israel has vetoed Hamas’s demand to release 100 senior figures from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah political factions from Israeli prisons.

The Hamas negotiating team has already dropped its demand that Israel accept a permanent ceasefire as a precondition for any potential deal.

The official said the negotiation process would be very long and complex, but there was some hope it could work this time.

On Sunday, a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office may have dampened expectations somewhat by insisting that any deal must not prevent Israel from resuming fighting in Gaza until its war aims are achieved.

Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly defined these goals as the eradication of Hamas, both militarily and politically.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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