What is Israel doing in Gaza?

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday that he had set “the clear goal of destroying Hamas’s military and governing capabilities”, as well as freeing the hostages. He also rejected calls for a ceasefire.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) says it has broken through Hamas’s front lines of defence in northern Gaza, and an Israeli commander said its troops were at “the gates of Gaza City”.

On Thursday morning the BBC’s reporter in the Gaza Strip, Rushdi Abualouf, said there were five different battles under way in the north and around Gaza City.
He said the biggest was in the north-west of the strip, where “very few” people remain.

The IDF claimed to have killed “dozens” of Hamas fighters in clashes overnight into Thursday. It said 17 of its own troops have died during the ground offensive in Gaza, and that a total of 330 soldiers have been killed since 7 October.

Israel’s Minister of Defence, Yoav Gallant, said 10,000 munitions have been dropped on Gaza City alone since the conflict began. Israeli forces carried out an air strike on Jabalia, in northern Gaza on Tuesday . The Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza says that 1,000 people are dead, wounded or missing following Israeli air strikes on Jabalia, in northern Gaza, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Previously, it said 195 people had been killed. Several residential buildings were destroyed in the strikes.The Israeli military said it had killed a senior Hamas commander and dozens of fighters.

Heavy shelling has also been continuing around the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Around 14,000 people are thought to be sheltering there.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said the Israeli military told staff to evacuate on Sunday ahead of strikes, but that it was impossible to move the hundreds of patients who are being treated there. The IDF has tens of thousands of soldiers, along with tanks and artillery, both along Gaza’s borders and within the territory. It has activated some 300,000 reservists alongside its standing force of 160,000.

Hamas is thought to have about 25,000 members in its military wing. It also has a network of underground tunnels across Gaza, connecting its command centres, which it has said stretch for 500km (310 miles).

What is the humanitarian situation in Gaza

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that a “public health catastrophe” is imminent in Gaza, where a third of hospitals are not functioning and the rest are barely working due to shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

There are more than 20,000 wounded people in Gaza, according to the independent medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders. The Hamas-controlled health ministry says more than 32,000 people have been injured.

The Israeli military ordered residents of northern Gaza to leave their homes for their own safety on 13 October, and estimated 1.4 million people have moved southwards since. The southern city of Khan Younis, normally home to 400,000 people, has seen its population increase to about 1.2 million since the latest conflict began.

Many families are sharing homes, or sleeping in tents. About 600,000 are being hosted by Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The UN has warned Gaza has only 5% of its normal daily water output, with infant deaths from dehydration “a growing threat”.Excerpted from the BBC website

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