Israeli occupation forces have expanded their ground operations into southern Gaza, with eyewitnesses reporting the entry of dozens of tanks, troops carriers, and bulldozers through the city of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza strip.
A local source told AFP on Monday, December 4, that the troops are “two kilometers inside” Gaza, in the Al-Qarara village near Khan Yunis.
Another eyewitness said that Israeli forces are “holding Salah al-Din Street on both sides and are now cutting it between Deir al-Balah (in central Gaza) and Khan Younis, firing bullets and tank shells at cars and people trying to move through the area.”
The Israeli army confirmed the expanded operations on Sunday, December 3.
“We fought strongly and thoroughly in the northern Gaza Strip, and we are also doing it now in the southern Gaza Strip,” the military’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, told reservists on Sunday.
An occupation spokesperson said later that day that Israel “continues to expand the ground incursion” across the entirety of the strip, “conducting face to face battles with terrorists.”
Hamas’ Qassam Brigades and other resistance groups are engaged in heavy clashes with Israeli forces across all of Gaza, north and south.
“Our heroic fighters continue to confront the enemy’s vehicles southeast of the Strip, inflicting heavy losses in equipment and personnel,” a spokesperson for the National Resistance Brigades, armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said.
The Qassam Brigades, the Quds Brigades of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement, and the Al-Nasser Salaheddine Brigades announced several attacks and ambushes on Israeli troops and vehicles in various areas across northern Gaza.
A senior source in the Qassam Brigades revealed to Al-Jazeera on 3 December that 70% of Israeli forces have withdrawn from northern Gaza to the south, due to “the failure of their operations and because of the resistance’s attacks.”
The withdrawal “began with the truce and accelerated with the resistance’s operations in the last two days,” the source added.
“The Israeli ground operation is concentrated in the south of the Gaza Strip, coinciding with limited maneuver operations in the north.”
Washington claimed during the truce that it urged Israel to protect Palestinian civilians once the assault on Gaza resumed, and that Tel Aviv was receptive to its advice.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed on Sunday that the Israeli army is “making an effort” to minimize civilian casualties.
However, more than a thousand Gazans have been killed since Saturday. The Al-Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, one of the last few operating in the city of Khan Yunis, is now overwhelmed with dead and injured Palestinians.
- scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/March 3, 2024