Israel-Hamas war: Heavy fighting raged overnight and into Sunday across Gaza, including in the devastated north, as Israel pressed ahead with its offensive after the US blocked the latest international push for a cease-fire and rushed more munitions to its close ally. Done footage released by news agency Reuters shows how Israeli Defence Forces have destroyed the civilian areas, resulting in the mass exodus.
Watch drone footage of Gaza destruction here:
Israel has faced rising international outrage and calls for a permanent cease-fire after the killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians. Nearly 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced within the besieged territory, where UN agencies say there is no safe place to flee.
United States has lent vital support
The United States has lent vital support to the offensive once again in recent days, by vetoing United Nations Security Council efforts to end the fighting that enjoyed wide international support, and by pushing through an emergency sale of over $100 million worth of tank ammunition to Israel.
The US has pledged unwavering support for Israel’s goal of crushing Hamas’ military and governing abilities to prevent any repeat of the October 7 attack that triggered the war. Hamas and other Palestinian militants stormed into southern Israel that day, killing some 1,200 people and capturing around 240, over 100 of whom were released during a weeklong cease-fire late last month.
Over 16,000 Palestinians killed
In response to the attack, Israel launched an air and ground war that killed more than 16,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and forced some 1.9 million people to flee their homes. With only a trickle of aid allowed in, and delivery rendered impossible in much of the territory, Palestinians face severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who invoked a rarely-used power last week to call for a cease-fire, said: “We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system.”
“The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for the Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region,” he told a forum in Qatar.
Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, told Israel’s Channel 12 TV late Saturday that the U.S. has set no deadline for Israel to achieve its goals of dismantling Hamas and returning all the hostages.
“The evaluation that this can’t be measured in weeks is correct, and I’m not sure it can be measured in months,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)