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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Israeli military is said to carry out raids in northern Gaza

Israeli tanks near a Palestinian house during an escorted tour by the military for international journalists in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, January 8, 2024. (Avishag Shaar-Yashuv/The New York Times)

By Hiba Yazbek and Iyad Abuheweila

The Israeli military carried out assaults in several towns in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday night, according to accounts from residents and Palestinian news media, which described heavy bombardment and ground fighting that drove many families to evacuate the area.

Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, reported Tuesday that Israeli forces were continuing for a second straight day to demand that all families leave the northern town of Beit Hanoun, and had made several arrests in the area.

The news agency said Monday night that Israeli military vehicles had surrounded a school housing displaced families in Beit Hanoun and opened fire, and that several Palestinians had been killed or wounded after an airstrike on a mosque in the nearby Jabalia area. In central Gaza City, Israeli bombardment early Tuesday left several people killed or injured, the agency said.

The reports could not be independently verified. The Israeli military did not immediately respond to questions about the fighting.

The objective of Israel’s attacks in northern Gaza — from which its forces had withdrawn earlier this year before returning in recent weeks — was not immediately clear.

The United Nations human rights office also said Tuesday that there had been intense attacks in northern and central Gaza in recent days, pointing to reports that Israeli troops had opened fire on Palestinians attempting to return to the north over the weekend, killing at least one Palestinian and injuring at least 11 others.

Emad Zaqout, a freelance journalist who lives in Jabalia, said that Israeli ground forces and tanks were in Beit Hanoun and parts of Jabalia, where heavy strikes were heard Monday night and early Tuesday as Israeli forces clashed with gunmen.

“It was a very heated night until the early hours of the morning,” Zaquot said in a phone call Tuesday.

Zaqout said that before entering the area, the Israeli military had used recorded voice messages to order residents to move south, but he said that some had refused and had moved to other parts of northern Gaza instead.

The bombardment seemed to subside by Tuesday morning but Israeli tanks were still in the area and more residents were leaving, he said.

The Israeli military said Tuesday that its forces were pressing on with an operation in central Gaza for a sixth day, reporting that it had killed several people it described as “terrorists” and had struck at “terrorist infrastructure.”

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