Israeli forces drop leaflets, raising concerns of a complete wipeout of Gaza civilianstext_fields
Raising concerns of mass evacuations of people from more regions in Gaza, the Israeli forces are reported to have dropped leaflets in southern Gaza, urging Palestinian civilians to evacuate four towns on the eastern edge of Khan Younis. The conflict, initially focused on specific areas, could now spread to regions previously considered safe.
The leaflets, distributed in Bani Shuhaila, Khuza’a, Abassan, and al-Qarara, warned residents that being in the vicinity of militants or their positions would pose a danger to their lives. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) justified this action over the claims of the presence of Hamas command centres and bunkers in the targeted areas.
The IDF continued its operation in al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, claiming to have uncovered weapons, intelligence material, and military technologies belonging to Hamas. The hospital, a strategic objective for Israel, has been a focal point of controversy, with conflicting reports on its alleged use by Hamas as a command centre.
The IDF's incursion into the hospital complex has drawn criticism, particularly as it risks exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the densely populated Palestinian territory.
The United Nations human rights chief, Volker Türk, expressed concerns about the potential for "massive outbreaks of infectious disease and hunger" in Gaza, emphasizing the catastrophic consequences if fuel supplies run out.
The situation in Gaza has prompted tens of thousands of people to flee from north to south, seeking refuge in UN-run shelters and family homes in Khan Younis.
In response to these developments, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, distinct from Hamas, reported "fierce clashes" with Israeli forces near the al-Shifa hospital complex. The situation inside the hospital has worsened, with hundreds of patients, including newborns, facing days without electricity and basic necessities.
The conflict has taken a toll on both sides, with Hamas militants storming southern Israeli towns and kibbutzim, resulting in casualties and hostage-taking. Israel's defence minister, Yoav Gallant, indicated that the IDF's ground operation would extend to both the north and south, underscoring Israel's determination to target Hamas wherever it operates.
As the international community closely monitors the situation, the leaflet drops and continued military operations underscore the escalating tensions in the region. The conflicting narratives surrounding the al-Shifa hospital further complicate efforts to address the humanitarian crisis and find a resolution to the long-standing conflict between Israel and Hamas.