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Israel Continues Airstrikes On Gaza Dividing It Into North And South Gaza

On Sunday, Israel declared that it was launching “significant” assaults on Gaza after splitting it in half, while the US ambassador in the region pushed for a Middle East trip centred on providing humanitarian relief to the Palestinians. According to army spokesman Daniel Hagari, Israeli forces “have encircled Gaza City… There exists a south Gaza and a north Gaza.”

He made his remarks following the US Secretary of State’s rapid trip of the occupied West Bank, Iraq, and Cyprus on Sunday. The Secretary of State’s main concerns were protecting American troops from attacks by militants supported by Iran and providing help to Gaza’s struggling residents in response to Israel’s Gaza War.

When Blinken met Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, he criticised what he called “genocide” in Gaza, where at least 9,770 people, primarily civilians, had died in over four weeks of fighting, according to the health ministry in the region ruled by Hamas.

Washington rejected calls for a ceasefire and supported Israel’s objective of defeating Hamas, which on October 7 carried out the worst attack in the nation’s history, killing over 1,400 people—also mostly civilians—and taking over 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials, as telecommunications in Gaza were cut for a third time.

As the number of deaths in Gaza continues to rise, there is growing worry around the world. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated that “there won’t be a ceasefire until the hostages are returned.”

“Let them take this out of their vocabulary. After speaking with troops at an air force facility, the seasoned right-wing premier declared, “We are saying this to our enemies and to our friends.”

“We’ll just keep going till we succeed. We are without a substitute.”

In footage made public by the army on Sunday, soldiers fought one another house to home while armoured bulldozers and tanks churned over the sand.

Alaa Abu Hasera, a resident of Gaza City, described the attack as “like an earthquake” in a devastated neighbourhood where entire blocks had been reduced to rubble.

A US State Department spokeswoman claimed that Blinken told Abbas that Palestinians in Gaza “must not be forcibly displaced” during their discussions.

Although Israel has been pushing Palestinian people in northern Gaza to go south with leaflets and text messages, a US official stated on Saturday that at least 350,000 civilians were still living in what is becoming an urban combat zone.

According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas condemned “the genocide and destruction suffered by our Palestinian people in Gaza at the hands of Israel’s war machine, with no regard for the principles of international law.”

In its quest to defeat Hamas, Israel has been hitting Gaza nonstop, razing whole city blocks.

Cindy McCain, the director of the World Food Programme, stated, “At this moment, parents in Gaza do not know whether they can feed their children today and whether they will even survive to see tomorrow.”

Blinken stated last week in a Senate hearing that following the conflict, Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) ought to reclaim control of Gaza. At the moment, it only has restricted authority in some areas of the West Bank, and Netanyahu has long tried to ignore it.

Only if a “comprehensive political solution” is found to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, according to Abbas’ statement on Sunday, could the PA hold authority in Gaza once more.

Although Washington has stated that it supports Israel and a Palestinian state, Netanyahu’s hard-right administration has been adamantly against it.

The Palestinian health ministry reports that over 150 Palestinians have lost their lives in settler attacks and conflicts with Israeli forces in the West Bank as a result of the war.

According to the State Department, Blinken and Abbas talked about “the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians” in the West Bank.

“Over 2,500 terror targets have been struck” by “ground, air, and naval forces” since Israel pushed ground forces into the northern part of Gaza late last month, the army said on Sunday.

The third time during the battle, phone and internet links went down, according to Paltel, the last major operator still in operation.

The Israeli army began its heavy bombing of Gaza City and the surrounding areas in the northern part of the enclave shortly after the blackout.

According to an AFP journalist, some explosions were so strong that they could be heard all the way in the far south, in Rafah.

Israel, according to Hamas, has been conducting “intense bombings” near a number of hospitals in northern Gaza.

Images showed civilians moving away from the battle and southward, but Hamas was attempting to stop them from leaving, according to military spokeswoman Hagari, who talked to foreign reporters.

Suhad Zorob recalled, “We saw dead bodies in the streets,” as she ran away south. “We saw the tanks… only one street away from us.”

According to the Gaza health ministry, 45 Palestinians were murdered in an Israeli bombing on the Al-Maghazi refugee camp late on Saturday. An eyewitness reported that homes had been destroyed and children had died.

Mohammed Alaloul, 37, a journalist for the Turkish Anadolu Agency, claimed, “My house next door partially collapsed, an Israeli air strike targeted my neighbours’ house in Al-Maghazi camp.”

Four of his children, four of his brothers, and numerous of his nieces and nephews were killed in the bombing, he said AFP.

According to the Israeli military, it is investigating if its personnel were present in the region when the incident occurred.

When Blinken reiterated US support for “humanitarian pauses” rather than a ceasefire in discussions with Arab foreign ministers in Jordan on Saturday, he was met with an increasing amount of resentment.

“A stain on humanity that cannot happen again” was how US Ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, described the October 7th Hamas attack on Sunday.

Blinken stopped briefly in Cyprus, the closest EU member, after touring the West Bank. Cyprus has stated that it is attempting to create a maritime corridor for aid to reach Gaza.

After taking a plane to Baghdad, he met Mohamed Shia al-Sudani, the prime minister.

“I made very clear that attacks or threats coming from militias that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable,” Blinken told reporters in Baghdad.

Subsequently, Blinken was anticipated in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Netanyahu of being directly accountable for the increasing number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

On Saturday, Turkey announced that it was removing its ambassador from Israel and severing ties with Netanyahu.

Concern over the suffering increased on a global scale.

During her visit to Qatar, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna demanded “an immediate, durable and observed humanitarian truce” that would “lead to a ceasefire”.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, whose country has been serving as the only route for foreigners to leave Gaza and bring relief in, demanded a “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” on Saturday.

Thousands of demonstrators in support of the Palestinians echoed the appeal in Washington, D.C., at one of several demonstrations that were taking place in cities throughout Europe and from Indonesia to Iran.

As pressure on Netanyahu grows over his government’s lack of preparation for the October 7 attacks and its handling of the hostage issue, thousands more protested in Israel on Saturday.

While hundreds of people screamed “bring them home now” outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem home, friends and family of some of the captives in Tel Aviv were urging him to step down.

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