On the first day after Israel resumed bombing Gaza following the breakdown of a week-long truce with Hamas, the Israeli military said it had struck more than 400 targets, while international aid groups denounced the continuation of violence.
Israel targeted areas of Gaza’s populated south on Saturday, while the United States urged Israeli officials to do more to protect Palestinian civilians as Israel continues its advance into Gaza in its bid to eradicate the militant group Hamas.
“We will continue the war until we achieve all its objectives, and it is impossible to achieve these objectives without a ground operation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech Saturday evening.
The Israeli offensive over the past day included more than 50 strikes in and around the town of Khan Younis in the southern half of Gaza, the army said Saturday.
Several houses and buildings were affected. In a strike on a house in the southern Gaza town of Deir al-Balah, at least nine people were killed, including three children, according to the hospital where the bodies were taken.
Around 2 million people are gathered in areas of southern Gaza, including hundreds of thousands who fled at the start of the war. In the first days after the Hamas attack, Israel asked the population of Gaza City and other northern areas to evacuate. Netanyahu said in late October that “not a single civilian” should die if he traveled to safe areas of southern Gaza and accused Hamas of preventing civilians from leaving.
Also on Saturday, militant groups in Gaza said they were firing rockets into southern Israel, and the Israeli military said sirens were sounding.
At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in the day since fighting resumed, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said.
More than 15,200 Palestinians have been killed since the war began almost two months ago, according to Gaza’s health ministry in a figure updated on Saturday. Around 1,200 Israelis were killed, mostly civilians, in Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on October 7.
During a visit to Israel and the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan said his office was serious about moving forward with the investigation into allegations of war crimes on both sides of the conflict. .
“Every actor should have no doubt that they must comply with the law now,” Khan told Palestine TV. “And if you don’t follow the law now, don’t file a complaint later, because we’re serious.”
∎ Tens of thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday, where recently released hostages spoke, calling for the release of remaining hostages held by Hamas.
∎ A 70-year-old woman held by Hamas was pronounced dead on Saturday, according to her kibbutz, bringing the total number of known deaths among the hostages to eight.
∎ The British Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday that it would carry out unarmed surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza to try to locate the hostages, saying the safety of British nationals among the hostages was its top priority .
∎ Doctors Without Borders said in a report released Friday that an investigation into a November 18 attack on its convoy evacuated to southern Gaza, which killed two people, points to “the responsibility of the Israeli army in this attack” .
Kamala Harris criticizes both Hamas and Israel
US Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks in Dubai on Saturday in which she sharply criticized Hamas and Israel, saying the Biden administration wanted the conflict to end and for both to provide more protection to Palestinians in Gaza.
Harris, in his most extensive public comments to date on the Gaza war, stressed that Israel had the right to defend itself and eliminate Hamas, which killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 others during its brutal cross-border attack on October 7.
But she said Israel “must do more to protect civilian life.” In conversations with Israeli leaders, she and President Biden emphasized that “the United States is unequivocal; international humanitarian law must be respected. Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed. Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering and the images and videos coming out of Gaza are devastating,” Harris said.
She also called on Israel and other parties to show more restraint once the conflict ends. “No forced displacement, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, no reduction of territory and no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism,” Harris said.
Earlier on Saturday, Harris met with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, key mediators in the Israel-Hamas conflict, to discuss the future of Gaza’s population after the war.
“She stressed that these efforts can only succeed if they are pursued in the context of a clear political horizon for the Palestinian people towards a state of their own, led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority and if they benefit from significant support from the international community and countries in the region,” the White House said.
The chances of a new ceasefire negotiation seem low
A senior Hamas official said Saturday that no future hostage releases would take place as long as Israeli bombardment of Gaza continued, and Israeli negotiators walked away from the table, suggesting little hope of a new truce.
“There are no negotiations for the moment on the truce. There will be no exchange of prisoners until the end of the aggression and a global and definitive ceasefire,” he said. Hamas deputy leader Saleh Arouri told Al-Jazeera.
Arouri said the remaining hostages in Gaza are men who served in the army. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters that Hamas had refused to return two children and 15 women it is holding, violating the ceasefire agreement.
The Israeli prime minister’s office also said Saturday that Israel had recalled its negotiators from Qatar, saying negotiations were at an “impasse,” CNN reported.
UN agencies condemn end of truce
The World Health Organization has denounced the collapse of Gaza’s health system, saying the territory cannot afford to lose any more beds and is already overwhelmed with injured people.
“We need a ceasefire. A ceasefire that holds,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on social media on Friday.
“Today, the Gaza Strip is once again the most dangerous place in the world for a child to be,” UNICEF said in a statement. “After seven days of respite from horrific violence, fighting has resumed. More children will surely die.”
Israel orders evacuations in southern Gaza
The Israeli army on Saturday ordered civilians in southern Gaza to evacuate using a map it issued at the end of the temporary ceasefire.
The day before, Israel had warned the population of Gaza that they should familiarize themselves with the map published online, dividing the territory into regions and hundreds of numbered plots. It highlighted more than two dozen areas expected to be evacuated on Saturday.
The orders caused panic and confusion, while some said they did not know the map at all. Southern Gaza has around 2 million residents, including hundreds of thousands who fled the north at the start of the war. Palestinians cannot return to northern Gaza or travel to neighboring Egypt. They could only move within an area of approximately 85 square miles.
“There is nowhere to go,” Emad Hajar told the Associated Press. “They expelled us from the north and now they are pushing us to leave the south.”
MAPS SHOW CONFLICT ZONES:Fighting resumes in Gaza as Israeli military forces advance operations
American protester sets himself on fire outside Israeli consulate in Atlanta
A person was in critical condition Friday in the United States after setting himself on fire during an apparent protest outside an office building housing the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, authorities said.
The protester was being treated for third-degree burns all over his body, Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith said at a news briefing Friday afternoon, and a security guard who tried to arrest the person suffered burns to the wrist and leg. Authorities did not release the name, age or gender of the protester.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said a Palestinian flag was found at the scene. He added that there was no indication the incident was terrorism-related.
Contributor: Associated Press