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Palestinians starve as Gaza war rages amid fears of exodus into Egypt


Displaced Palestinian children, who fled their house due to Israeli strikes, shelter in a tent camp, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 11, 2023. [REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa]

Israel says its instructions to people to move are among measures to protect the population.

U.N. Security Council envoys spoke of unimaginable suffering and urged an end to the war when they visited the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on Monday.


Asked by reporters if he had a message to nations that opposed a ceasefire in Gaza, China's United Nations envoy Zhang Jun said simply: "Enough is enough."


Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday Israel had no intention of staying permanently in the Gaza Strip and it was open to discussing alternatives about who would control the territory, as long as it was not a group hostile to Israel.


"Israel will take any measures in order to destroy Hamas, but we have no intention to stay permanently in the Gaza Strip. We only take care of our security and the security of our citizens alongside the border with Gaza," Gallant told reporters.


Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007 and has sworn to destroy Israel. Israel accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields and stealing humanitarian aid, which Hamas denies. Israel has prevented most aid from moving into Gaza, saying it fears it will just fuel Hamas attacks.


Israel said on Monday it would begin screening aid bound for Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing, but was not opening the crossing itself, where most trucks entering the strip passed before the war. Two Egyptian security sources said inspections would begin on Tuesday under a new system agreed between Israel, Egypt and the United States.


After the collapse of a week-long ceasefire on Dec. 1, Israel began a ground offensive in the south and has since pushed from the east into the heart of Khan Younis city, with warplanes attacking an area to the west.


CLASHES IN NORTHERN GAZA


On Monday, militants and residents said fighters were preventing Israeli tanks moving farther west and clashing with Israeli forces in northern Gaza, where Israel had said its mission was largely complete.


Israel said dozens of Hamas fighters had surrendered and urged others to join them. The armed wing of Hamas said it had fired rockets towards Tel Aviv, where Israelis fled to shelters.


The Gaza health ministry said 32 Palestinians were killed in Khan Younis overnight. Hamas said its fighters had hit two Israeli tanks with rockets and fired mortars at Israeli forces.


Militants and residents said fighting was also fierce in Shejaia, east of the centre of Gaza City, the northwestern Sheikh Radwan district and Jabalia farther north.


In central Gaza, where Israel told people to move on Monday towards shelters in the Deir al-Balah area, health officials said the Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital had received 40 dead.


Residents reported exchanges of fire near the coastal road and Hamas media said fighters foiled an attempt by Israeli naval forces to make a landing of forces offshore.


Israeli bombing continued into the night on Monday, residents and health officials said. Medics said Israeli air strikes killed at least 15 people in separate strikes in the central and southern Gaza strip.


Reporting by Bassam Masoud in Gaza and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Cairo; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Tom Perry in Beirut, Clauda Tanios in Dubai, Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman and Aiden Lewis and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo; Writing by Philippa Fletcher and Angus MacSwan, Editing by Nick Macfie and Cynthia Osterman


 

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