Israel has launched a major ground offensive into Gaza, pushing farther into the territory than ever before as fierce fighting intensifies near crowded civilian areas. The fighting is focused in and around the city of Khan Younis, endangering Gaza’s largest hospital in the area.
Israel Makes Deepest Incursion Yet
According to Israeli officials, troops are now farther south in Gaza than they have ever been before in recent conflicts. The offensive aims to strike militant groups deeper in their strongholds.
However, the advance has brought combat closer to densely populated neighborhoods. Fears are mounting over increased civilian casualties as shelling and airstrikes continue to pound the area.
Fighting Rages Around Major Gaza Hospital
Some of the most intense clashes are taking place near Gaza’s largest hospital still functioning in Khan Younis. The facility has already been damaged, and patients evacuated, from an earlier airstrike on an adjacent open area.
As fighting draws even nearer, the United Nations warns that targeting or endangering hospitals violates international law. With most medical infrastructure in ruins, the loss of this major hospital would be catastrophic. Gaza’s Ministry of Health believes Israel is deliberately trying to take the hospital out of service.
16 Killed in Israeli Strike on Home
In one of the deadliest recent attacks, an Israeli strike killed 16 members of an extended family as they took shelter inside a multi-story residential building. Israel claims it targeted militants in the home, but Palestinians say all killed were civilians.
Angry protests erupted as rescuers pulled bodies from the wreckage. With Gaza’s graveyards overloaded, many victims are now being buried in cemeteries inside Israel because of a lack of space.
Reconciliation Talks Break Down
Behind the scenes, efforts at negotiating a ceasefire have stalled over disagreements about Palestinian statehood. Israel firmly opposes the creation of an independent Palestinian state. But the U.S. and allies have pushed for reconciliation talks on the issue as part of wider peace efforts.
Analysts warn that as long as these disputes simmer, cycles of violence in the decades-old conflict are likely to continue. The recent clashes, already the deadliest since 2014, show little sign of slowing even as external pressure builds to end the fighting.
International Condemnation Grows
A spokesman for the United Nations emphasized the rules of war that protect civilians and hospitals in particular:
“Damage to hospitals violates International Humanitarian Law, and can severely affect access to health care for victims of the conflict. All parties must avoid endangering medical facilities and staff.”
Human rights groups have also forcefully criticized the strikes on Gaza, accusing Israel of using disproportionate force with little regard for civilian life. Protests globally are calling on world leaders to help stop the violence immediately.
With over 140 Palestinians now reported killed, the Gaza Ministry of Health is warning that vital infrastructure teeters on the verge of collapse. Access to food, water, shelter and medical care for the wounded remains extremely limited for the territory’s 2 million residents.
As Israel shows no sign of ending operations in the near future, the stage is set for further clashes in the days and weeks ahead. With little progress on ceasefire terms, few avenues for de-escalation seem readily available as the fighting rages on.
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