- Israel says that Hamas often hides fighters and weapons in homes and other civilian buildings, but Hamas rejects this.
- Israel said that five of its troops had been killed in Gaza since Friday, bringing the total number of deaths in the area to 57.
On Sunday, Israel was getting ready to launch an attack against Hamas militants in the southern part of Gaza. This came after airstrikes killed dozens of Palestinians, including civilians who were hiding in two schools.
Israel dropped leaflets earlier this week, and on Saturday, it told civilians in some parts of southern Gaza to leave because it was getting ready for an attack there after controlling the north.
Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of UNRWA, the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees, said on the social media site X that Israel shelled two schools in the north that the agency runs. He said that one of them was a safe place for more than 4,000 people.
“Dozens reported killed including children,” he told us. “Schools are not safe for the second time in less than 24 hours. NO MORE, these horrible things must end.
A spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza said that 200 people had been killed or hurt at the school. The Israeli forces didn’t say anything.
Some parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank are controlled by the Palestinian Authority. On Saturday, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said, “Hundreds of forcibly displaced people were killed” at the two schools in Gaza.
After Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, during which its members killed 1,200 people and took 240 prisoners, Israel promised to destroy the militant group.
As the seventh week of the war began, the number of deaths in the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, rose to 12,300, with 5,000 children among them.
Abbas asked U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday to step in and stop the Israeli operation in Gaza.
“Hundreds of forcibly displaced people were killed” at the two schools in Gaza, Abbas said in a speech shown on Palestine TV. He also asked “that you and world leaders take responsibility to stop this aggression and genocide against our people.”
Biden wanted to end the war, even though he doesn’t support a ceasefire. He said in an opinion piece in the Washington Post that the Palestinian Authority should eventually run both Gaza and the West Bank.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked about Biden’s idea, he told reporters in Tel Aviv that the Palestinian Authority could not run Gaza in its current form. Israel hasn’t said what its plan is for Gaza after the war.
ASSAULT ON SOUTH LOOMS
As Israel’s military moved south, Palestinian officials said that the Israeli army had forced most of the staff, patients, and displaced people out of Al Shifa Hospital, which is Gaza’s biggest, and left them to make dangerous walks south.
Israeli troops denied the claim, saying that the evacuations were voluntary. When the hospital head asked Israel to, military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said they opened a safe path for civilians who were in the hospital to go south.
Israeli troops took Al Shifa earlier this week during their offensive across northern Gaza. They said it was hiding an underground Hamas command center.
An Israeli offensive in the south could force hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who left Gaza City in the north to leave again, along with people who live in Khan Younis, a city of more than 400,000 people. This would make an already terrible humanitarian situation even worse.
About two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have already been forced to leave their homes because of the war.
Two top former Israeli officials and a senior Israeli source say that an advance into southern Gaza could be harder and more dangerous than one into the north. This is because Hamas fighters are deep in the Khan Younis region.
In the early hours of Saturday, an airstrike in Khan Younis’s busy civilian area killed 26 Palestinians and hurt 23 others, according to health officials.
He told Reuters that the airstrike in Khan Younis killed his aunt, her children, and her grandkids. He said that they had all left northern Gaza because the Israeli army told them to, only to die where the army said they would be safe.
“They were all laid to rest.” The 26 bodies were laid out outside the morgue at Nasser Hospital before their families took them to be buried. “They had nothing to do with the (Hamas) resistance,” Zaeem said.
Six Palestinians were killed when an airstrike hit a house in the town of Deir Al-Balah, which is a few miles to the north.
On Saturday afternoon, a third Israeli air strike killed 15 Palestinians in a house west of Khan Younis, close to a camp for people who have been forced to leave their homes.
Israel says that Hamas often hides fighters and weapons in homes and other civilian buildings, but Hamas rejects this.
An Israeli military statement only said that in the past 24 hours, its air force had hit dozens of targets in Gaza, such as militants, command centers, rocket launch sites, and companies that make weapons.
Israel said that five of its troops had been killed in Gaza since Friday, bringing the total number of deaths in the area to 57.