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Israeli Forces Enter Gaza City’s Heartland in Ongoing Conflict

In the midst of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Israeli forces have made a significant move by advancing deep into Gaza City. Tanks have been positioned on the city’s outskirts, indicating a potential incursion into the urban center. Major General Yaron Finkelman, the commanding officer of the Southern Command of the Israeli Defence Forces, highlighted the historic nature of this operation, stating that the IDF is now fighting within the heart of Gaza City, which he referred to as the “heart of terrorism.”

Israel’s intentions were made clear as it previously announced its intention to surround Gaza City and launch an offensive to eliminate Hamas, the group that initiated an assault on Israel a month ago. Richard Hecht, a spokesperson for the Israeli military, hinted at the possibility of ground operations by the encircling troops, stating, “I’m not going to talk about how we are operationally acting from within our encirclement around Gaza City. You are in the right direction, that’s all I can say.”

The ongoing conflict has taken a heavy toll on both sides, with over 1,400 Israelis, primarily civilians, losing their lives since the war began, and more than 200 abductions by Hamas. On the other side, Israel’s airstrikes have resulted in the loss of over 10,000 lives in Gaza, with approximately 40 percent of the casualties being children.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Volcker Turk expressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “It has been one full month of carnage, of incessant suffering, bloodshed, destruction, outrage, and despair.”

As the conflict rages on, Israel provided a window of opportunity for residents of Gaza City, urging them to leave the area between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for their safety. The directive stated, “For your safety, take this next opportunity to move south beyond Wadi Gaza,” referencing the wetlands. Despite the call to evacuate, Gaza’s interior ministry reported that around 900,000 Palestinians remain sheltered in northern Gaza, including Gaza City.

In the midst of these developments, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared the country’s intent to maintain security control over Gaza “for an indefinite period.” However, the White House has expressed a different perspective, with spokesperson John Kirby stating that US President Joe Biden opposes the reoccupation of Gaza, emphasizing that it is not in the best interest of Israel and its people. Kirby highlighted the need for a different approach, emphasizing that the situation cannot revert to what it was on October 6 and that “it can’t be Hamas.”

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