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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Casualties surpassed 21K as Israel advances in Gaza

Despite public pleas from the United States to scale down the campaign in the closing weeks of the year, Israel has significantly intensified its ground war in Gaza since just before Christmas.

Casualties surpassed 21K as Israel advances in Gaza

Israeli tanks penetrated deeply into a central Gaza Strip town on Thursday following relentless bombardment in recent days. The prolonged shelling compelled tens of thousands of already displaced Palestinian families to embark on a new exodus. A Palestinian journalist shared images of Israeli tanks near a mosque in the built-up area of Bureij, apparently advancing from orchards on the eastern outskirts.

In a separate incident further south, Israeli forces targeted the vicinity of a hospital in the heart of Khan Younis, the primary southern city in the Gaza Strip. Residents expressed concerns about a potential new ground incursion into the territory, which is densely populated with families rendered homeless during the 12 weeks of conflict.

According to Palestinian health authorities, 210 people were confirmed dead in Israeli strikes within the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll of the war to 21,320 deceased, nearly 1 percent of the enclave’s population. Thousands more are feared dead, buried, or lost in the ruins.

The scale of war is expanding 

Despite public pleas from the United States to scale down the campaign in the closing weeks of the year, Israel has significantly intensified its ground war in Gaza since just before Christmas. The war was initiated to dismantle the Hamas movement, which governs Gaza, following attacks by fighters on Israeli towns on October 7, resulting in 1,200 casualties and 240 hostages.

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The primary focus of the fighting now centers on central areas south of the wetlands that divide the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces have instructed civilians to evacuate as their tanks advance. Tens of thousands of people from the Nusseirat, Bureij, and Maghazi districts are fleeing into the overwhelmed city of Deir al-Balah along the Mediterranean coast, seeking refuge in hastily constructed camps of makeshift tents.

UNRWA, the main U.N. organization operating in Gaza, highlighted the dire situation, stating, “Over 150,000 people – young children, women carrying babies, people with disabilities & the elderly – have nowhere to go”