Israel strike targets Hamas stronghold in dense Gaza area; hospital reports many deaths
By Hiba Yazbek, Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Aaron Boxerman
An Israeli strike aimed at Hamas militants hit a densely populated neighborhood in the Gaza Strip, leaving a massive crater and widespread damage. Hamas and the director of a nearby hospital said numerous people were killed.
The Gaza health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said the Israeli strikes killed and wounded “hundreds” of people in the Jabaliya neighborhood, a statement that could not be immediately verified. A doctor at a nearby hospital said the facility was receiving hundreds of injured and that dozens were dead.
Israel’s military said in a statement that its fighter jets, in a “wide-scale” attack, had struck Hamas militants, including a commander who helped plan the Oct. 7 massacre that left 1,400 people dead, mostly civilians.
“His elimination was carried out as part of a wide-scale strike on terrorists and terror infrastructure belonging to the Central Jabaliya Battalion, which had taken control over civilian buildings in Gaza City,” the military said.
It reiterated a warning for people in Gaza to evacuate south, a call that came as Israeli ground troops and tanks pushed deeper into the Gaza Strip and were edging closer to the territory’s main city. More than half the population of 2 million people has been displaced since Israel expanded a blockade of the enclave in response to the Hamas attacks.
Humanitarian officials have warned that Palestinian civilians face a growing catastrophe. “The scale of the horror people are experiencing in Gaza is really hard to convey,” Martin Griffiths, the U.N.’s chief official for humanitarian and relief affairs, said in a statement Monday. “People are becoming increasingly desperate, as they search for food, water and shelter amid the relentless bombing campaign that is wiping out whole families and entire neighborhoods.”
Here’s what else to know:
— Despite growing international criticism of Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza, Netanyahu said that pleas for a cease-fire amounted to “calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism.”
— Photos, satellite images and videos verified by The New York Times showed formations of troops and armored vehicles approaching Gaza City and nearby population centers from the north, east and south.
— The World Health Organization said services had been “severely reduced” at the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, Gaza’s only cancer center, after “extremely concerning reports of airstrikes” in its vicinity over the last two days.
— Israel said its forces had rescued a soldier abducted on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants, Ori Megidish. The Foreign Ministry also confirmed the death of Shani Louk, a 23-year-old German Israeli citizen believed to have been kidnapped at a music festival.