As Israeli ground forces continued operations in northern Gaza, airstrikes bombarded the southern region of the enclave and an army raid in the occupied West Bank saw troops and Palestinian militants exchange heavy gunfire.
Israeli airstrikes hit at least two homes in southern Gaza late Thursday and Friday morning, survivors told the Associated Press. Mohammed Zaqout, the head of Gaza’s hospitals, said a total of 35 people were killed in airstrikes in Khan Younis and the nearby town of Rafah overnight.
In the West Bank, battle erupted between Israeli forces and militants in the town of Jenin. The Israeli military said it killed five militants in the raid and arrested 15 Palestinians. At least three Palestinians were killed in the raid and 15 were injured, Palestinian health officials said.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces in north Gaza seem poised to expand ground operations into the south, a region packed with hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians. On Wednesday, Israel dropped leaflets over Bani Suheila and other nearby areas, calling on residents to flee the area. Similar leaflets were dropped in northern Gaza ahead of Israel’s initial ground invasion.
Over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war last month, according to Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas.
Some 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly civilians slain in Hamas’ brutal attack on Israeli border communities on Oct. 7. Around 240 people were taken captive by militants.
∎ Some 250 foreign nationals and two injured Palestinians entered Egypt through the Rafah crossing on Friday, according to CNN. On the same day, more than 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid have been allowed to enter the besieged enclave.
∎ A spokesperson for the Israeli military said troops overnight encountered and killed Hamas militants at a school in Gaza. The statement posted Friday on X said multiple weapons were found at the school.
∎ Israeli airstrikes hit locations near Damascus, the capital of Syria, according to Syria’s state news agency. No injuries or death were reported.
The bodies of two of the approximately 240 people kidnapped in Israel during the Oct. 7 Hamas rampage were found Thursday and Friday near Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital, according to the Israeli military.
The body of Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old corporal in the Israeli military, was discovered on Friday near Gaza’s largest medical facility and has been taken back to Israel, the military said on X. An Israeli military spokesperson said she was killed by Hamas but did not provide further details. Hamas said Marciano died in an Israeli airstrike.
A day earlier, the body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss was found in a building near the Al Shifa complex. Her husband, Shmulik Weiss, was killed in the Hamas assault. They had five children, Israeli officials said.
Israel’s War Cabinet unanimously approved 60,000 liters of fuel to enter Gaza over the next two days to support the enclave’s water, communications and sewage infrastructure, officials say.
Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security advisor, in a news conference Friday called the shipments “very minimal” and said they’re also intended to stop the spread of disease.
“We don’t want diseases that could harm the civilians who are there and our forces. If there are diseases, the fighting would be halted,” Hanegbi said. “We cannot continue fighting in the event of a humanitarian crisis or an international outcry.”
The lack of fuel following Israel’s declaration of war against Hamas has hampered humanitarian aid distribution and has rendered critical infrastructure including sewage facilities and water desalination plants inoperable, aid agencies say.
Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, a U.N. official, on Friday accused Israel of “using water as a weapon of war” a day after the aid agency warned Gaza’s 2.2 million people are at risk of starvation.
“Every hour that passes with Israel preventing the provision of safe drinking water in the Gaza Strip, in brazen breach of international law, puts Gazans at risk of dying of thirst and diseases related to the lack of safe drinking water,” said Arrojo-Agudo, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.
According to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, around 70% of the population in Gaza is drinking salinized and contaminated water.
The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) issued a statement Thursday, pleading for another aid passage to be opened as only 10% of necessary food supplies have entered Gaza since the start of the war on Oct. 7.
“Supplies of food and water are practically non-existent in Gaza and only a fraction of what is needed is arriving through the borders,” said WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain in a statement. “With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of clean water, civilians are facing the immediate possibility of starvation.”
Communications appeared to be down in Gaza for a second day, effectively cutting off the enclave from the rest of the world, after a lack of fuel shut down all internet and phone networks Thursday, the main Palestinian telecom provider said.
Contributing: The Associated Press; John Bacon, Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY