Israeli forces claim Gaza City has been encircled « Khabarhub
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Israeli forces claim Gaza City has been encircled


06 November 2023  

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TEL AVIV, ISRAEL: Israel said its strikes on Hamas in the Gaza Strip had effectively split the Palestinian territory in two on Sunday.

Israeli forces “have encircled Gaza City. … Now there exists a south Gaza and a north Gaza,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the region and was scrambling to try to contain a crisis that threatened to spread.

He met Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abbas demanded an immediate Israeli cease-fire. Blinken has called for humanitarian pauses in the conflict, something Israel has rejected so far.

Blinken also made a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. The two discussed the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the need to prevent the war from spreading, including in Iraq.

On Saturday, Blinken met with Arab leaders in Amman, Jordan. He landed in Turkey late Sunday.

Hostages first

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking Sunday with pilots at Ramon Air Force base in southern Israel, reiterated “There will be no cease-fire without the return of our hostages.”

“We say this to both our enemies and our friends. We will continue until we beat them,” he added.

Gaza’s Hamas government reported “intense bombings” on Sunday evening around several hospitals in the north of the Gaza Strip, shortly after telecommunications were cut for a third time. The reports could not be independently verified.

Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel said that all communications and internet services had again been cut across Gaza. This was the third time telecommunication and internet services had been cut to the Palestinian territory.

“We have lost communication with the vast majority of the UNRWA team members,” U.N. Palestinian refugee agency spokesperson Juliette Touma told The Associated Press. The first Gaza outage lasted 36 hours and the second one for a few hours.

Strike in Lebanon

Hezbollah on Sunday said Israel would “pay the price” after an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon hit a car killing three children and their grandmother. Israel said its strikes were a response to a Hezbollah missile attack that killed an Israeli citizen. Israeli also said it shot down a Hezbollah drone.

Also on Sunday, a U.S. official told VOA that CIA Director William Burns was traveling to “several countries in the Middle East.”

The focus of the trip includes the situation in Gaza, support for hostage negotiations and continued deterrence to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from growing, the U.S. official told VOA.

“The director will reinforce our commitment to intelligence cooperation, especially in areas such as counterterrorism and security,” the U.S. official said.

When contacted by VOA, the Central Intelligence Agency said, “We don’t comment on the director’s schedule.”

Meanwhile, the former prime ministers of Australia and Britain, Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson, were in Israel to show their “solidarity” with Israel and its people.

Morrison said Sunday, “I am thankful for the opportunity to join former Prime Minister Johnson to come to Israel as a demonstration of solidarity with the people and state of Israel and the Jewish community throughout the world.”

Israeli campaign

Israel said Sunday that since it launched the war on Hamas last month, “over 2,500 terror targets have been struck.” The targets were hit, Israel said, with “the combined activities” of Israel’s ground, air and naval forces.

The campaign was launched after the surprise Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 Israelis October 7. More than 200 people were also taken hostage by the militants. Gaza’s health officials say more than 9,700 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military operations.

The World Health Organization said in a post on social media that since October 7, it had documented 102 attacks on health care facilities in the Gaza Strip, resulting in “504 fatalities, 459 injuries, damage to 39 facilities and affected 31 ambulances.”

The U.N. agency said more than half the health facility attacks and over half of the targeted hospitals were in Gaza City.

VOA

Publish Date : 06 November 2023 14:54 PM

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