- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
- Militants attack Israeli military positions in northern and southern Gaza, Hamas says
- Netanyahu says cessation of fighting ‘won’t happen’
- UN says Israel cuts off all water supplies to Gaza
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Hamas said its militants in Gaza fired anti-tank missiles at Israel’s invading forces early on Tuesday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls to stop fighting that has deepened the enclave’s humanitarian crisis. Palestinian.
Israel has expanded ground operations in Gaza as it seeks to punish the Hamas movement, which rules the Strip, for a deadly shooting three weeks ago in which Israeli authorities say more than 1,400 people were killed.
Witnesses said Israeli forces attacked Gaza’s main north-south highway on Monday and attacked Gaza City from two directions. Israel said its troops freed a soldier from Hamas captivity, one of 239 hostages Israel said were captured on October 7.
The al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said militants earlier Tuesday clashed with Israeli forces “who invaded Gaza’s southern axis, (including) with machine guns, and attacked four vehicles with al-Yassin 105 missiles,” in reference to locally produced missiles. anti-tank missiles.
The militants also attacked two Israeli tanks and bulldozers in northwest Gaza with missiles, al-Qassam said.
Reuters could not confirm reports of fighting. Israel’s military had no immediate comment.
Gaza health authorities say 8,306 people, including 3,457 minors, have been killed in Israeli strikes since October 7. U.N. officials say more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s civilian population of about 2.3 million have been left homeless.
The rising death toll has prompted calls from the United States, Israel’s main ally, other countries and the UN for a pause in the fighting to allow more humanitarian aid to reach the enclave.
Netanyahu said late Monday that Israel would not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas in Gaza and would press ahead with its plans to eliminate the group.
“Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks.
Military specialists said Israeli forces are slowly advancing their ground offensive, in part to keep open the possibility that Hamas militants may negotiate the release of the hostages.
The relative caution with which Israeli troops have taken and secured swathes of territory in the first days of sustained ground operations in Gaza contrasts with the past three weeks of relentless airstrikes against the Mediterranean enclave, as well as Israel’s previous ground offensives. over there. .
‘DISASTERS ON TOP OF A DISASTER’
Israel’s military said it attacked more than 600 militant targets in recent days in Gaza, where Palestinian civilians urgently need fuel, food and clean water.
The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) said water supplies via a pipeline from Israel to southern Gaza were cut off on Monday “for unknown reasons” and that an announced repair of another pipeline to the center was not carried out. from Gaza.
“At the time of writing, Israel does not supply water to Gaza,” OCHA said on its website.
Far fewer humanitarian aid trucks than needed have arrived in the besieged enclave, U.N. officials said, and civil order has broken down with people breaking into U.N. warehouses in search of food.
This has left four UN aid distribution centers and one storage facility out of operation, the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said on Monday.
“It’s a disaster on top of a disaster. Health needs are increasing and our ability to meet those needs is rapidly decreasing,” said World Health Organization regional emergencies chief Rick Brennan, reiterating international calls for a ceasefire to allow for a broader humanitarian operation.
Aid trucks have been arriving in Gaza from Egypt for the past week through Rafah, the main crossing that does not border Israel. It has become the main aid delivery point since Israel imposed a “total siege” on Gaza after October 7.
The White House said it was working to bring more aid trucks to Gaza.
Hamas released a video on Monday showing three hostages taken by the Islamist movement on October 7.
The women, identified by Netanyahu as Yelena Trupanob, Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht, sat next to each other against a bare wall, and Aloni directed an angry message to the prime minister.
Netanyahu condemned the video as “cruel psychological propaganda” and said Israel’s ground campaign created possibilities to rescue the hostages.
The conflict has sparked demonstrations around the world in support of Palestinians and anti-Semitic and Islamophobic harassment.
Biden administration officials, expressing alarm over reports of anti-Jewish incidents at American universities, met with American Jewish leaders on Monday to discuss measures to counter the surge, a White House official said.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin accused the West and Ukraine of provoking unrest inside Russia after rioters in the predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan stormed an airport to “seize” Jewish passengers on a flight from Tel Aviv.
Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Yomna Ehab, Ali Swafta, James Mackenzie, Henriette Chacar, Dan Williams, Emma Farge and Jonathan Landay; Written by Idrees Ali; Editing by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Coates
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