Israel Intensifies Gaza Offensive: Civilian Casualties Rise

Israel escalates attacks as aid agencies warn Gaza on brink of catastrophe | Israel War on Gaza News

Israel Intensifies Assault as Gaza Treads on the Edge of Disaster

Israel has intensified its military campaign across Gaza, with severe urban gun battles reported from the northern Jabalia camp to the southern city of Rafah, which borders Egypt. Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), are locked in fierce confrontations.

Resistance Amidst Ruin in Jabalia

In the largely destroyed northern district of Jabalia, residents report Israeli tanks obliterating clusters of homes. However, heavy resistance is being met from Hamas and PIJ fighters. “They are bombing houses on top of their inhabitants,” said local resident Abu Jehad. Both sides have reported casualties, with the PIJ claiming to have killed Israeli soldiers, and Israel’s military reporting the elimination of many fighters in the area. Despite claiming to have defeated Hamas in the region months ago, Israeli troops have re-entered northern Gaza.

Mass Evacuations and Civilian Casualties

Israel’s military has ordered further evacuations from the al-Manshiya and Sheikh Zayyed neighbourhoods in northern Gaza. The United Nations estimates that approximately 100,000 residents have been forcibly displaced from the north in recent days. In Gaza City, multiple fatalities occurred after Israeli forces targeted a group of Palestinians congregating for internet access, a recurring pattern of attacks on large civilian groups, according to Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud. Palestinian health officials have reported at least 82 Palestinian deaths in the past 24 hours.

‘Vengeful’ Attacks and ‘Fascist’ Acts

Hamas has strongly condemned the attacks on civilians across the Strip, labeling them as “fascist and vengeful” and reflective of the Israeli army’s state of “defeat”.

Urgent Humanitarian Crisis in Rafah

In Rafah, Israeli tanks have surrounded the eastern edges of the city. Many displaced individuals have sought sanctuary from the bombardment elsewhere in Gaza, only to find the city infiltrated by Israeli forces. Aid groups, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), are warning of significant disruptions to their humanitarian operations due to the Israeli army’s ground offensive.

“I have recently returned from Gaza, where the scale of the crisis defies imagination,” said Kiryn Lanning, IRC team lead for the occupied Palestinian territory. “Facilities across southern Gaza have been repurposed into makeshift shelters, overflowing into the streets. This displaced population is now facing acute shortages of basic necessities such as food, water, and adequate sanitation,” Lanning added.

Severe Aid Shortages Amidst Intensifying Conflict

After seizing and shutting down the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Israeli army’s action has left southern Gaza’s hospitals with only days of fuel left for their operations, according to warnings from the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. Aid deliveries into Gaza have slowed significantly since Israeli forces took control of the Gaza side of the crossing on May 7. A humanitarian relief convoy was ransacked by far-right Israelis on Monday after crossing from Jordan through the occupied West Bank.

Political Impasse and an Uncertain Future

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied the existence of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Rafah, where approximately 450,000 people have been displaced, as per UN estimates. As the conflict escalates, ceasefire talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt have reached a stalemate. Hamas is demanding a permanent end to the attacks, while Netanyahu’s government insists it will not stop until Hamas is annihilated.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel to provide a clear plan for Gaza’s post-war future, but Netanyahu has opposed the creation of an independent Palestinian state. He argues that any alternative to Hamas as the government of Gaza would require the elimination of the Palestinian group first, a stance that Hamas firmly rejects.

A Resolve amidst Ruins

Despite the escalating conflict and dire humanitarian situation, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has reiterated the group’s rejection of any post-war settlement that excludes Hamas. “We are here to stay”, Haniyeh affirmed, emphasizing the group’s demands for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. As the international community watches with growing concern, the future of the region hangs in the balance, defined by a relentless conflict and the resilience of a besieged people.