Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in the hospital in Khan Younis/Photo: AP
TEL AVIV: Israel urged people living in part of the Gaza Strip’s second-largest city to evacuate, as Israeli troops launched new airstrikes and intensified their ground attack targeting Hamas militants.
The Israeli military told people in neighborhoods on the northeastern side of Khan Younis to leave for their safety, directing them to areas farther south.
Photos showed smoke rising from buildings in the city that had been leveled by the Israeli attacks, with people carrying bodies wrapped in blankets away from the destruction.
The Israeli military said it attacked hundreds of Gaza locations throughout Monday, expanding its ground operations to every part of the narrow enclave along the Mediterranean Sea.
A government spokesperson told reporters, “We’re close to completing that mission in northern Gaza.”
While visiting Gaza, Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, offered a grim assessment of the plight of Palestinians in the territory.
“The level of human suffering is intolerable,” she said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and with a military siege in place, there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.”
Khan Younis is in southern Gaza, where many civilians fled as Israel began its campaign against Hamas in the northern part of the enclave.
The Israeli military called Sunday for evacuation from parts of Khan Younis, just as it had throughout northern Gaza in late October as it readied a ground offensive, and posted maps of which neighborhoods should be evacuated.