Israel pushes back into northern Gaza, ups military pressure on Rafah

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Israel sent tanks into eastern Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip early on Sunday, after a night of heavy aerial and ground bombardments, killing 19 people and wounding dozens of others, health officials said.
The death toll in Israel’s military operation in Gaza has now passed at least 35 000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The bombardment has laid waste to the coastal enclave and caused a deep humanitarian crisis.
The war was triggered by a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on October 7 in which some 1 200 people were killed and more than 250 people taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.
Israel says 620 soldiers have been killed in the fighting.
Jabalia is the biggest of Gaza’s eight historic refugee camps and is home to more than 100 000 people, most of whom were descendants of Palestinians who were driven from towns and villages in what is now Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that led to the creation of the state of Israel.
Late on Saturday, the Israeli military said forces operating in Jabalia are preventing Hamas, which controls Gaza, from re-establishing its military capabilities there.
“We identified in the past weeks attempts by Hamas to rehabilitate its military capabilities in Jabalia. We are operating there to eliminate those attempts,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel’s military spokesperson, during a briefing to reporters.
Hagari also said that Israeli forces operating in Gaza City’s Zeitoun district killed about 30 people.
“Bombardment from the air and ground hasn’t stopped since yesterday, they were bombing everywhere, including near schools that are housing people who lost their houses,” said Saed, 45, a resident of Jabalia.
“War is restarting, this is how it looks in Jabalia,” he told Reuters via a chat app. “The new incursion forces many families to evacuate.”
The army sent tanks back into Al-Zeitoun, an eastern suburb of Gaza City, as well as Al-Sabra, where residents also reported heavy bombardments that destroyed several houses, including high-rise residential buildings.
The army had claimed to have gained control of most of these areas months ago.
The Israeli Defence Forces said air sirens had sounded in the southern Kerem Shalom area and it had successfully intercepted two rockets launched from the vicinity of Rafah. It said there were no injuries and no damage reported.
Gunfight on Deir Al-Balah outskirts