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Residents of northern Gaza Strip flee under Israeli bombardment

Photo: Hussein Malla Associated Press A man inspects a house destroyed by an Israeli raid in Shebaa, a municipality located near the border with Israel.

Agence France-Presse in the Gaza Strip

Published at 9:39 AM Updated at 3:39 PM

  • Middle East

Deadly Israeli bombings targeted the east of Gaza City on Thursday, forcing its residents to flee, at a time when fears are growing over the war waged by Israel against Hamas in the territory Palestinian spread to Lebanon.

Artillery and helicopter fire targeted the Choujaiya neighborhood, where fighting pitted Israeli soldiers against Palestinian fighters, according to Civil Defense and witnesses who reported numerous casualties.

“Tens of thousands of civilians,” Civil Defense said, fled this area of ​​the northern Gaza Strip after the army asked residents to evacuate.

Since the start of the war on October 7 between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Lebanese Hezbollah, which supports the Palestinian Islamist movement, has regularly exchanged fire with Israeli army on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Fears of seeing this violence degenerate into all-out war against Lebanon have increased in recent days.< /p>

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who completed a visit to Washington on Wednesday, assured that his country had “the capacity to return Lebanon to the Stone Age” in the event of war against Hezbollah. “We do not want a war,” he added, however, specifying that his government was “preparing for any scenario”.

Hezbollah announced Thursday evening having bombarded with “dozens of Katyusha rockets” a military base in northern Israel in response to Israeli strikes, one of which killed one of its fighters.

“Terrorized” inhabitants

In the Gaza Strip, the bombings continue despite the announcement on Sunday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the “intense” phase of the war was reaching its end.

Civil Defense counted at least five deaths in Gaza City on Thursday.

Shujaiya resident Omar Sukar told AFP that a bombing had surprised a crowd at a water distribution point in the Shabura area. The tanker truck had just arrived when the bombing began, he said.

“The terrified residents are running into the streets… There are wounded and martyrs lying in the streets,” another witness said.

A doctor at al-Ahli hospital, Dr. Muhammad Ghurab, said that “about 50 victims,” ​​including seven dead, including four children, were taken to his hospital “as Israeli forces advanced toward the east of Shujaiya.”

Hamas claimed that Israeli forces were “beginning a ground incursion” and denounced “the forced displacement of thousands of people under the pressure of incessant bombardments”.

In a message in Arabic posted on ~

Many Palestinians were fleeing on foot through the ruined streets, according to AFP images.

“Enough! We are devastated. We have lost our children and our homes, and we continue to flee from one place to another,” said a woman who did not give her name.

In the south of the Gaza Strip, several buildings were destroyed by Israeli forces in Rafah, according to witnesses. In the neighboring town of Khan Younes, Israeli planes targeted a school where, according to the army, “terrorists” were located.

The Israeli army launched on May 7 a ground offensive in the town of Rafah, bordering Egypt, then presented as the final stage of its war against Hamas.

But the fighting have since resumed in several other regions, notably in the north of the territory that the army had previously claimed to control.

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The war was sparked on October 7 by an attack by Hamas commandos in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to a count by the 'AFP established from official Israeli data.

Of 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of which 42 are dead, according to the army.

Protesters hostile to Benjamin Netanyahu gathered once again on Thursday in Jerusalem, demanding early elections and an agreement allowing the release of the hostages.

In retaliation for the attack, Israel promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and which it considers a terrorist organization, as did the United States and the Union European.

The Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip has so far killed 37,765 people, mostly civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned on Wednesday that the spread of the war in Gaza to Lebanon would be “potentially apocalyptic” and would spread to other countries in the region with consequences “unpredictable”.

France called on Thursday “for the greatest restraint”.

The war has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the small territory of 2.4 million inhabitants, besieged by Israel, where water and food are lacking, where most hospitals are out of service.

< p>On Thursday, 21 cancer patients were evacuated to Egypt via the Israeli crossing point of Kerem Shalom, according to an Egyptian medical source.

UNICEF said elsewhere announced that it had reached an agreement with Israel to relaunch a water desalination plant in the south of the Gaza Strip.

According to a report supported by UN and published on Tuesday, almost half a million residents of Gaza are facing “catastrophic” famine. Israel rejected this assessment on Thursday, calling it “misleading” and “biased”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116