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February 22, 2024

Israel launches major offensive in Khan Younis as Gaza truce talks falter

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Jan 24, 2024

Israel has launched a major new offensive in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, with tanks and troops surrounding the city and firing on areas where Hamas militants are believed to be sheltering. This comes as talks for a one-month Gaza truce have stalled after over 100 days of conflict.

Israel bombs homes and hospital, 14 killed

Israeli airstrikes hit two homes in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza early Tuesday, killing 14 people as the military pushed ahead with a blistering offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers (Al Jazeera). The strike left bodies buried under rubble and tore large holes into the sides of buildings, TV footage showed.

Israel also bombed Gaza’s main hospital in Khan Younis, causing damage to parts of the building and leaving hundreds stranded inside, unable to evacuate (NY Post). The airstrikes came a day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN aid distribution center in Khan Younis, killing 9 displaced Palestinians and wounding at least 75 others (UPI).

The offensive has raised tensions with the US, which criticized Israel’s “deeply concerning” operations around clearly marked UN facilities (Barrons). But Israel has vowed to press on to locate 2 soldiers captured by Hamas in an Oct. 7 attack, despite over 110 days of fighting that has left thousands dead.

Israel encircles Khan Younis to pressure Hamas

The Israeli assault has focused on Khan Younis in recent days, as troops push deeper into Gaza than ever before. Tanks, drones, and snipers have encircled the city, firing on anyone who steps outside (Middle East Eye).

Leaders vowed a “strong blow” against Khan Younis to avenge an ambush that killed 24 Israeli soldiers last week and to pressure Hamas to reveal information about the two captive Israeli troops (Ynet News).

Khan Younis is home to Hamas’s top military commander Mohammed Deif, who has evaded Israeli assassination attempts for years. Analysts say surrounding Deif’s city puts pressure on Hamas rulers to locate the Israeli hostages (Haaretz).

City Population Notes
Khan Younis 200,000 One of Gaza’s largest cities, home to main hospital
Jabalia 110,000 One of Gaza’s most densely populated refugee camps

Patients trapped in Gaza’s largest hospital

Hundreds remain trapped inside Nasser Hospital in central Khan Younis, Gaza’s second largest medical center, after bombardments left major structural damage and cut off access routes (CBS News). Doctors are running dangerously low on supplies needed for surgeries and intensive care.

At least 16 patients dependent on hospital oxygen tanks have suffocated to death over recent days as bombardment cut power lines (The Hindu). Requests for humanitarian ceasefires to access the trapped patients have gone unanswered.

Families have resorted to holding burials in a small lot near the hospital, unable leave under Israeli sniper fire. “We couldn’t go to the cemetery because of the shelling, so we buried our dead right here thinking it’s safer near the hospital,” said Khalil al-Najjar, who lost 3 family members in a strike.

Truce talks at impasse with over 3000 Palestinian deaths

Egyptian mediators have proposed a one-month Gaza truce to take effect later this week as talks continue over a long-term deal (Reuters). But disagreements remain between Israeli and Hamas over border restrictions, funds transfers, prisoner swaps, and other key demands.

The UN has warned the duelling war campaigns have brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe after over 110 days of all out war (DW). Palestinian deaths have climbed over 3000, including hundreds of children, while 38 Israelis have been killed. Infrastructure across the narrow coastal strip is in ruins from over 4500 Israeli airstrikes.

With neither side achieving decisive victory, the impasse could perpetuate recurring rounds of clashes seen over recent decades. Leaders have vowed to pursue Israel’s enemies “with no time limit” until hostages are recovered and Hamas disarmed (Jerusalem Post). But Hamas remains deeply entrenched, warning “We decide when this war ends, not Netanyahu.”

What’s next: Wider conflict or ceasefire deal?

As Israel ratchets up assaults aiming to deal Hamas a decisive blow, mediators face diminishing prospects for a near term truce. Unless battlefield losses force concessions, the fighting could continue for months barring international intervention.

But analysts say neither Israel nor Hamas can continue high intensity operations indefinitely given mounting economic pressures and unrest at home. With over 3000 Gazans and dozens of Israelis now dead, both may soon yield to a ceasefire that postpones the conflict rather than resolves final status issues.

Much remains unclear about the fate of the Israeli soldiers held by Hamas and what it might take to secure their release. Israel may launch deeper pushes into Gaza cities to pressure Hamas, but urban battles threaten bloody house-to-house combat amid dense civilian populations.

For now Israel and Hamas remain locked in devastating war, as ordinary Palestinians and Israelis endure relentless bombardments with no end in sight. Leaders on both sides appear far from compromise, instead issuing threats to continue fighting without limits. Yet with cities reduced to rubble and hospitals overflowing, the longing for peace has never been more desperate in Gaza and southern Israel.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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