Source: China State Council Information Office
This photo taken on Jan. 12, 2024 shows destroyed buildings at Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. [Photo/Xinhua]
Israel has resumed battles in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday amid growing international calls for a ceasefire.
In its latest operational update, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that its troops have returned to areas where they previously operated.
Over the past few weeks, attacks in the north of the strip have decreased following Israel’s assertion of gaining control over the area, fostering hopes that displaced civilians could return to their homes — a prospect the Israeli army has indicated that it will not permit at this stage.
“The forces operating under the division are preventing Hamas from rebuilding its capabilities,” Itzik Cohen, the commander of IDF’s 162nd Division, said in the update, stressing the forces were “intensifying operations against and pressure on Hamas remaining in the area.”
Israeli bombardment persisted throughout the enclave, including in Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Over the weekend, at least 20 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks on Rafah, a city previously designated as a safe zone by the Israeli army. More than half of Gaza’s over 2 million population have fled to Rafah, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories.
At least 133 Palestinians were killed and 205 injured in Gaza over the past 24 hours, the Hamas-run Health Ministry reported earlier Monday.
The ministry said more than 27,478 Palestinians have been killed and 66,835 others injured from the Israeli attacks on Gaza, which were triggered by a surprise Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, that Israel said killed about 1,200 people.
On Monday morning, a food aid convoy was struck by Israeli gunfire while waiting to move into northern Gaza, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
“Thankfully, no one was injured,” Tom White, director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, wrote in a post on the social media platform X. Photos circulating on X showed that damage was caused to the shipping.
An Israeli security source told Xinhua that the army was checking the report without providing more information.
Also on Monday, speaking at a press conference during his first official visit to Israel, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne called on the Israeli government to facilitate an “immediate ceasefire” and a “massive influx” of aid into Gaza.
As Qatari, Egyptian, and U.S. mediators were waiting for a reply from Hamas to a ceasefire offer, which includes hostage release, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his right-wing Likud party that the war is not near ending.
“Our goal is a complete victory over Hamas. We will kill the Hamas leadership. Therefore, we must continue to act in all areas of the Gaza Strip,” he said.