Israeli forces continued to press their offensive across the besieged territory, as forces attempt to take the heart of southern Gaza’s main city on Thursday.
Dozens of men were rounded up by the Israeli army in areas of northern Gaza, including a correspondent for The New Arab‘s Arabic-language service, Al Araby Al Jadeed. The men were arrested at gunpoint, stripped and transported to an undisclosed location, according to witnesses.
Breaking into Gaza’s second largest city, Israeli forces, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers rolled into Khan Younis, forcing already displaced civilians to flee again.
At least 17,177 Palestinians have been killed since then, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures, while 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’ incursion into Israel, according to Israeli tallies.
But humanitarian organisations have warned the spread of the war into the south of the Gaza Strip will leave civilians who fled the north, much of which is now destroyed, with nowhere to go.
The humanitarian office of the United Nations said the Khan Younis area, affected by Israel’s evacuation order, has evacuated about 178,000 residents that they regarded previously home to and additional 170,000 displaced Palestinians.
“Two months on, the situation in Gaza is becoming apocalyptic. As hostilities expand, people are forced into increasingly confined areas of the south, and meaningful humanitarian efforts become nearly impossible,” the agency said on X.
Many civilians fled to Khan Younis following an initial evacuation order by Israel to evacuate the north of the territory earlier in the war.
A strike on a residential district in Rafah left 17 dead and dozens injured late Wednesday, the Hamas health ministry said, and an AFP journalist saw the wounded, including children, being taken to a local Kuwaiti hospital.
Much of northern Gaza has already been reduced to rubble by fierce fighting and bombardment, displacing 1.9 million people according to UN figures.
The war has sparked fears of a wider regional conflict, with near-daily exchanges of fire with Lebanese group Hezbollah across Israel’s border with Lebanon and a surge of deadly violence in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian authorities say more than 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire or settler attacks since the war began.