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Thousands Flee Gaza As Israel Intensifies Ground Assault To ‘Tighten Stronghold’

In an attempt to “tighten the stranglehold” around Hamas, Israel escalated its ground assault, bombarding residential areas, forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee North Gaza. Israel reaffirmed its refusal to grant a truce until Hamas free its hostages.

Thousands of civilians have fled south to escape becoming stuck in the centre of the battle, as Israeli troops and Hamas operatives are engaged in close-quarters fighting in Gaza City. Israel declared on Thursday that its forces have reached the “heart” of the Gaza Strip.

Um Haitham Hejela and her young children were taking refuge in a makeshift tent at Gaza City’s main Al Shifa hospital, one of the thousands of people trapped within the surrounded north.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) declared that they were targeting Hamas facilities and the tunnels that their operatives were using when they posted a video on X showing their assault on Gaza cities.

The armed wing of Hamas also unveiled a video purportedly depicting fierce street fights in Gaza City next to destroyed structures.

When Hamas struck Israel on October 7, it killed over 1,400 people—mostly civilians—and took 239 prisoners, according to Israeli officials. This marked the start of the conflict.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that Israel’s ceaseless bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip have killed over 10,500 Palestinians, many of them children, in retaliation for Hamas’s supposed destruction.

Rejecting demands from around the world for a ceasefire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that Hamas must first free all of the hostages.

According to Hamas, Israel has also halted the Rafah crossing’s ability to transport injured Palestinians and foreigners from the Gaza Strip to Egypt. According to a Hamas official who spoke to AFP, the crossing point remained closed because Israel would not accept the list of injured people who needed to be evacuated.

In retaliation to attacks against American personnel, US aeroplanes struck a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria that was connected to Iran, according to US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

It is the second time in roughly two weeks that the United States has targeted a location in Syria it said was tied to Iran, which supports an array of groups that Washington blames for a spike in attacks on its forces in the Middle East.

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