Israel dismisses US calls to temper its ground invasion as it begins bloody new ... trends now

Israel dismisses US calls to temper its ground invasion as it begins bloody new ... trends now
Israel dismisses US calls to temper its ground invasion as it begins bloody new ... trends now

Israel dismisses US calls to temper its ground invasion as it begins bloody new ... trends now

Israel continued to dismiss US calls to temper its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza's second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding. 

Israeli forces were encircling the southern city of Khan Yunis today, fighting terrorists in intense street battles in some of the fiercest combat of the two-month war.

The focus of the conflict has shifted to the besieged territory's south following fierce fighting and bombardment that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes.

And despite Washington's desperate calls for Israel to prevent yet more bloodshed in Gaza and provide more aid, Israeli forces, backed by warplanes, reached the heart of Khan Younis yesterday and surrounded the city - trapping the thousands of exhausted civilians who had fled there.

The IDF aims to wipe out the Hamas leaders it believes are hiding in Khan Younis while using innocent civilians as human shields. But the cost of the war continues to mount, with more than 16,248 Palestinians killed since the conflict broke out two months ago, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

Today, Israeli tanks, troops and bulldozers encircled the southern city after what the IDF said was the 'most intense day of fighting' since the war began. 

Israeli air strikes obliterated buildings within Khan Younis today, with the IDF claiming it had killed several Hamas commanders in a strike near the Indonesia Hospital. 

Israel continued to dismissed US calls to calm its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza 's second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding

Israel continued to dismissed US calls to calm its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza 's second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today 

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Tuesday

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Tuesday

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Tuesday

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Tuesday

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian terror group, said their fighters were battling Israeli troops early this morning in a bid to prevent them from breaking into Khan Younis and surrounding areas. 

Dozens of people were killed and injured in heavy strikes on areas east of Khan Yunis, Hamas said. 

'Our forces are now encircling the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip,' Israel's army chief Herzi Halevi said late Tuesday. 'We have secured many Hamas strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip, and now we are operating against its strongholds in the south.' 

The fighting on Tuesday was 'the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation' in late October, the army's Southern Command chief Major General Yaron Finkelman said. 

Hamas' armed wing said it killed or wounded eight Israeli troops and destroyed 24 military vehicles on Tuesday. An Israeli military website listed two troop deaths for Tuesday and 83 since the ground operation began.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the terrorist group's October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people and saw around 240 hostages taken. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and free the 138 hostages still held after scores were freed during a short-lived truce.

The United States, Israel's most important ally, has also ramped up calls for greater efforts to prevent civilian deaths in Gaza. But Israel paid no heed to Washington, as it continued with its bloody new phase of the war. 

Indeed, Gaza health officials said many civilians were killed in an Israeli strike on houses in Deir al-Balah, north of Khan Younis. Dr Eyad Al-Jabri, head of the Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital there, told Reuters at least 45 people were killed. Reuters could not reach the area nor confirm the toll. 

Meanwhile, areas in the central and northern Gaza Strip were still coming under bombardment on Wednesday, according to Hamas.

The Hamas-run health ministry said air strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed six people and injured 14 others.

Israel had previously told civilians in the north of the densely populated Gaza Strip to seek shelter in the south of the territory, with many fleeing to Khan Yunis believing it would be safer.

As the war expands, Israel has told people to move even further south, sparking 'panic, fear and anxiety', according to Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

People were being pushed into an area that is less than one-third of the Gaza Strip, with roads to the south clogged, he said.

Israeli tanks in the Gaza Strip amid their continued ground invasion of territory

Israeli tanks in the Gaza Strip amid their continued ground invasion of territory 

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today

A Palestinian woman stands in a destroyed room in a building as she inspects the site of Israeli strikes in Khan Younis on Wednesday

A Palestinian woman stands in a destroyed room in a building as she inspects the site of Israeli strikes in Khan Younis on Wednesday 

People mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in an airstrike on Wednesday in Khan Younis

People mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in an airstrike on

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