Israeli Forces Intensify Attacks on Gaza, Resulting in Mounting Casualties

Israeli aircraft and ground forces target over 120 Hamas locations in Gaza, resulting in a soaring death toll of over 35,000 people. The US criticizes the operation, warning that even a full-scale ground assault would fail to eliminate Hamas presence in the enclave.

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Muthana Al-Najjar
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Israeli Forces Intensify Attacks on Gaza, Resulting in Mounting Casualties

Israeli Forces Intensify Attacks on Gaza, Resulting in Mounting Casualties

Israeli aircraft and ground forces have targeted over 120 Hamas locations in Gaza, engaging in combat in Rafah and Jabaliya and resulting in a soaring death toll that has surpassed 35,000 people, mostly women and children, according to local health officials. The Israeli military operation aims to eliminate Hamas presence in the enclave, but the United States has issued harsh criticism, warning that even a full-scale ground assault on Rafah would fail to achieve that goal.

Why this matters: The escalating violence in Gaza has significant implications for regional stability and global security, as it risks drawing in other countries and exacerbating existing conflicts. Furthermore, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza threatens to destabilize the entire region, with far-reaching consequences for international relations and global governance.

The assault is unfolding alongside military action in the area of Zeitoun in Gaza City and Rafah. Israeli tanks pushed further into Jabalia, attempting to advance towards the heart of the camp, with airstrikes destroying clusters of houses and forcing hundreds of Palestinians housed in shelters to leave. "They were bombing everywhere, including near schools that are housing people who lost their houses," said Jabalia resident Saed, 45. "War is restarting, this is how it looks in Jabalia."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reiterated the U.S.'s opposition to a major military assault on Rafah, stating that Israel would be left "holding the bag on an enduring insurgency" without an exit from Gaza and post-war governance plan. "Even if it goes in and takes heavy action in Rafah, there will still be thousands of armed Hamas left," Blinken warned. "We've seen in areas that Israel has cleared in the north, even in Khan Younis, Hamas coming back."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to defeat Hamas, a promise he has made repeatedly during Israel's seven-month war with the militant group. The conflict erupted on October 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250 others. Israel claims militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The renewed fighting in Gaza coincided with Israel's annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of nationalistic attacks on Monday, May 13, 2024. Ceremonies and two minutes of silence were observed across the country to honor the dead. Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to worsen, with the health system on the verge of collapsing due to dwindling supplies of food and fuel. "We are only a few hours away from the collapse of the health system in the Gaza Strip as a result of the failure to bring in the fuel needed to operate electricity generators in hospitals, ambulances, and transport employees," the Gaza Health Ministry warned.

Key Takeaways

  • Israeli forces target 120+ Hamas locations in Gaza, resulting in 35,000+ deaths, mostly women and children.
  • US criticizes Israeli operation, warning it won't eliminate Hamas presence in Gaza.
  • Escalating violence in Gaza risks destabilizing the region and drawing in other countries.
  • Humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens, with health system on verge of collapse due to lack of supplies.
  • US Secretary of State Blinken opposes major military assault on Rafah, citing need for exit strategy and governance plan.