Palestinian fighters are confronting Israeli invasion forces inside Gaza after the Israelis entered the territory last night amid an intense bombing campaign and a communications blackout.
The civil defense unit in the Gaza Strip said ramped-up Israeli attacks overnight destroyed hundreds of buildings in the besieged enclave, which is already under heavy bombardment for three weeks.
Israeli occupation force spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the Israelis had entered northern Gaza and expanded military operations with infantry and armoured corps. Hagari said the Israeli army “eliminated Ratab Abu Tshaiban, commander of the naval force in the Gaza Brigade.”
He added that Israeli naval forces also attacked Hamas targets, including observation points, anti-tank launching sites, and a military facility, and provided assistance to the ground forces.
The return of hostages is among our priorities during the operation, the spokesperson said.
The aggression came after a near-total blackout of the telecommunications and internet networks.
Anadolu Agency reporters on the ground said the bombardment largely concentrated in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital and Indonesian Hospitals.
Lynn Hastings, the UN coordinator for Palestine, said: “Gaza has lost contact with the outside world.”
“Phone lines/internet/mobile networks cut. Hospitals & humanitarian operations can’t continue without communications, energy, food, water, meds. Safety of civilians, incl health workers/journos/UN staff at grave risk. Wars have rules. Civilians must be protected,” she said on X.
“Palestinian civilians are already besieged in the occupied Gaza Strip and are now also trapped in a complete communications blackout,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, senior director of Research, Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns at Amnesty International.
“We call on Israel to put an immediate end to indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks which have already killed and harmed so many civilians, including over 3,000 children. Internet and telecommunications infrastructure must also be restored as a matter of urgency, to allow rescue operations amidst Israeli pounding airstrikes and expanding ground operations.”
At least 7,326 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli attacks. Some 70% of the Palestinian deaths are women and children, according to official figures. The death toll in Israel stands at more than 1,400.
Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly last night called for an immediate humanitarian truce, with 120 states voting for a resolution put forward by Jordan.
Israel and the U.S., however, rejected it and the United Kingdom abstained.
The draft resolution, which was presented by nearly 50 countries, including Türkiye, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was approved by a vote of 120-14, with 45 nations abstaining.
Adopted at the 10th Emergency Special Session meeting on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the draft resolution expresses “grave concern” over the “latest escalation of violence” since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
The resolution condemned “all acts of violence against Palestinian and Israeli civilians, including all acts of terror and indiscriminate attacks, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction.”
It also demanded that “all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law.”
Emphasizing the need to protect civilians “in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” it called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive.”
In other news:
- The Egyptian foreign ministry warned of the “humanitarian and security repercussions of the Israeli ground attack” on Gaza. “We hold the Israeli government responsible for violating the United Nations General Assembly resolution for an immediate ceasefire and implementing a humanitarian truce,” it said, referring to yesterday’s vote in New York. Since the war began, fewer than 100 trucks carrying food and medicines – but not much-needed fuel – have been allowed to enter the besieged enclave through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
- Israeli forces detained 11 people “suspected of involvement in terrorist activity” in different parts of the West Bank, a statement by the army said. Two of them were suspected operatives of Hamas, a statement on X said. More than 1,500 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank have been detained by Israeli forces since the latest escalation began. Over the same period, thousands of workers from Gaza, who were employed in Israel when the war started, have also gone missing.
- Israel said on X that one of its drones had struck a “terrorist cell” in Lebanon that tried launching anti-tank missiles at Israel. An attack on an Israeli drone from the Lebanese territory was reported earlier by Israel, which also said that it had responded to the attack by striking the launch site.