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Israel sharply ramped up Gaza strikes since truce 

December 8, 2023 at 1:16 pm

Smoke rises from the destroyed buildings as the Israeli attacks continue in Rafah, Gaza on December 07, 2023. [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

Israel sharply ramped up strikes on the Gaza Strip, pounding the length of the Palestinian enclave and killing hundreds in a new, expanded phase of its war on Palestinains that Washington said veered from Israeli promises to do more to protect civilians, Reuters reports.

The Israeli military said today it had struck more than 450 targets in Gaza from land, sea and air over the past 24 hours – the most since a week-long truce came to an end on 1 December and about double the daily figures typically reported since then.

With the vast majority of Gazans now displaced and unable to access any aid, hospitals overrun and food running out, the main UN agency there said society was “on the verge of a full-blown collapse”.

Residents and the Israeli military both reported intensified fighting in both northern areas, where Israel had previously said its troops had largely completed their tasks last month, and in the south where they launched a new assault this week.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health reported 350 people killed yesterday, bringing the death toll from Israel’s two-month genocidal bombing campaign in Gaza to more than 17,170, with thousands more missing and presumed buried under rubble. More strikes were reported this morning in Khan Yunis in the south, the Nuseirat camp in the centre and Gaza City in the north.

“As we stand here almost a week into this campaign into the south… it remains imperative that Israel put a premium on civilian protection,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a press conference in Washington yesterday.

“And there does remain a gap between… the intent to protect civilians and the actual results that we’re seeing on the ground.”

‘Fear, hunger and cold’

With Israel bombing the northern and southern areas of Gaza, which it had told Palestinians to move to, residents say it has become almost impossible to find refuge. Israel says it is providing more detail than ever about which areas are safe and how to reach them, however Palestinians say areas they are told are “safe” are often bombed soon after this designation.

“We are staying in an area that is, according to maps, a safe area,” said Mohamed Al-Amouri, adjusting an oxygen mask for his school-aged son who lay on a hospital bed in shorts with his legs bandaged and his body lacerated.

Read: There are no UN-designated safe zones in Gaza: UN

“Children were on the streets playing, living life normally… we went out after the hit, hearing screams, to find youth, children, women and men in body parts – among them martyrs and injured.”

In Rafah, just minutes from the border with Egypt, Thaer Kadeeh is living with his family in a makeshift tent from sheets of thin plastic.

“We don’t sleep. Fear, hunger and cold, the three combined and no one is looking out for us,” he said. “You try to make the feeling of hunger go away for like an hour, but then the child asks again for food.”

With the fighting now in all directions, there was no place left to flee, said Yamen, sheltering at a school in central Gaza with his family.

“Inside the school is like outside it: the same feeling of fear of near death, the same suffering of starvation,” he said. “Every day we say we somehow survived. But for how long?”

Thomas White, Gaza head of UNRWA, the U..aid agency for Palestinians, wrote on X: “Civil order is breaking down in Gaza – the streets feel wild, particularly after dark – some aid convoys are being looted and UN vehicles stoned. Society is on the brink of full-blown collapse.”

Civil order is breaking down in #Gaza – the streets feel wild, particularly after dark – some aid convoys are being looted and UN vehicles stoned. Society is on the brink of full-blown collapse. @UNRWA continues to serve the population with what limted aid we have.

— Thomas White (@TomWhiteGaza) December 8, 2023


Ramy Abdu, head of the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, posted pictures showing severe damage to the vast medieval Great Omari Mosque, the most important landmark in Gaza’s Old City, apparently hit for the first time. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

Breaking: The Israeli army has bombed the Grand Omari Mosque, Gaza’s largest and oldest mosque. They’re targeting our religious strongholds, first the Saint Porphyrus Church and now the Great Omari Mosque, both are centuries old.

— Ramy Abdu| رامي عبده (@RamAbdu) December 8, 2023