Israel claims Gaza effectively split into two ahead of entry to Gaza Citytext_fields
Tel Aviv: Amid reports of Israel's forces entering Gaza City within the next 48 hours, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari has claimed to have split the besieged coastal strip into north and south.
While the Israeli force termed the situation significant in the ongoing conflict with Hamas, there are reports of strong explosions in northern Gaza after nightfall, indicating intensified military action.
The situation is further complicated by a total communications outage, marking the third since the beginning of the conflict. This collapse in connectivity, reported by internet access advocacy group NetBlocks.org and confirmed by Palestinian telecom company Paltel, hampers efforts to convey details of the military offensive.
UNRWA, the UN Palestinian refugee agency, has lost communication with the majority of its team members.
Despite international appeals for a temporary pause in military operations to facilitate aid delivery to civilians, Israel remains resolute in its offensive against Hamas. Earlier on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted two central Gaza refugee camps, resulting in at least 53 casualties and numerous injuries, according to health officials.
The Palestinian health ministry reports a staggering toll of more than 9,700 Palestinians killed in nearly a month of war, with over 4,000 of them being children. As Israeli troops advance into densely populated urban neighbourhoods, this figure is expected to rise.
The latest air strikes hit the Maghazi refugee camp, an area where Israel had previously urged Palestinian civilians to seek refuge. The attack left at least 40 people dead and 34 others wounded. Another strike targeted a house near a school at the Bureji refugee camp in central Gaza, resulting in at least 13 casualties.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank, following discussions with Arab foreign ministers.