Israeli Forces Intensify Ground Offensive in Northern Gaza Amid Concerns Over Proximity to Hospitals

by Gabriel Martinez
Israel-Gaza conflict

Israeli military personnel and armored vehicles escalated their ground incursion into the northern areas of the Gaza Strip on Monday. This advancement has alarmed United Nations officials and medical practitioners, as airstrikes have increasingly come perilously close to medical facilities where a large number of Palestinians, including the wounded, have taken refuge.

This heightened military action follows a day after Egypt facilitated the entry of 33 trucks laden with food, medicine, and other essential supplies into Gaza. Despite being the largest humanitarian convoy since the onset of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, aid workers confirmed on Monday that the aid still remains woefully inadequate given Gaza’s protracted state of siege.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Palestinian death toll has now exceeded 8,000, primarily affecting women and minors. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes this as a “second stage” in the conflict, instigated by Hamas’s violent incursion on October 7. This level of fatalities is unparalleled in the long history of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations. Israel has also incurred significant loss of life, with over 1,400 fatalities, largely civilians, during the initial assault—a record number as well.

Footage released by the Israeli military on Monday depicted armored vehicles navigating between structures and troops stationing inside residences. While the specific location remains undisclosed, earlier footage from Saturday showed military personnel advancing through barren, sandy terrains near the northern border of Gaza.

Israeli authorities stated that during the night, their forces neutralized numerous militants operating from structures and subterranean passages. Moreover, they targeted and demolished a building utilized by Hamas as a forward operating base. Over recent days, the military claims to have struck in excess of 600 militant installations, such as weapon storage facilities and anti-tank missile launch sites. These claims have not been independently corroborated.

Hamas’s armed division reported clashes with Israeli soldiers infiltrating the northwest region of Gaza, armed with small firearms and anti-tank projectiles. Palestinian militants continue to launch rockets into Israeli territory, including its economic center, Tel Aviv.

Telephone and internet services were reinstated for the majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants on Sunday, following more than 24 hours of disruption amid what residents described as the most ferocious bombardment since the conflict commenced.

Israel maintains that it has instructed the populace of Gaza to evacuate to the territory’s southern areas, but many remain in the north due to simultaneous bombardments in designated safe zones. Over 1.4 million people have been internally displaced within Gaza.

A shipment of 33 trucks carrying essential supplies entered Gaza from Egypt on Sunday, a modest increase from the approximately 20 trucks that had been arriving daily. Humanitarian workers insist that the actual requirement is in the hundreds of trucks per day to adequately meet the escalating needs.

Civil order appears to be eroding as individuals looted food stores from four United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facilities on Saturday. Thomas White, the Gaza director of UNRWA, described the situation as “worrying,” noting that the public is increasingly “scared, frustrated, and desperate.”

According to UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma, these facilities did not have fuel, which has been in critically low supply since Israel halted all shipments, citing Hamas’s potential military use of it. This claim remains unverified.

The protracted siege has pushed Gaza’s infrastructure to the brink of collapse. Hospitals, lacking a central power source for weeks, are struggling to operate essential life-saving machinery. UNRWA is endeavoring to keep water pumps and bakeries operational.

Growing food scarcity was reported by U.N. officials last week. In a recent call with Netanyahu, U.S. President Joe Biden stressed the imperative for Israel to considerably amplify the inflow of humanitarian assistance.

Elad Goren, head of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), stated that Israel plans to permit additional aid but did not specify the volume. Two water lines in southern Gaza were reportedly opened in the past week, though this information could not be independently confirmed.

As the situation escalates, medical facilities in northern Gaza face increasing risks. U.N. officials revealed that airstrikes have landed near several hospitals, including Gaza City’s Shifa and Al-Quds hospitals, and the Indonesian hospital. These hospitals, along with eight others, have received evacuation directives recently, affecting not only patients and staff but also around 117,000 individuals taking shelter within these medical establishments.

Allegations persist that Hamas has secret military operations beneath these hospitals, although conclusive evidence has not been furnished. Israeli airstrikes have resulted in significant damage to medical facilities, compelling many to remain against evacuation orders due to the life-threatening risk it poses to patients on life support.

International entities like the International Committee of the Red Cross have called for an immediate cessation of targeting hospitals. The escalating violence and casualties are also raising regional concerns, with tensions mounting along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and within the West Bank.

Israeli authorities reported that rockets were launched from Syria into open Israeli territories, prompting Israeli military to target Syrian military infrastructure.

Domestically, public pressure is mounting on the Israeli government to secure the release of 239 hostages captured by Hamas during the initial stages of the conflict. Hamas has proposed a prisoner exchange, which Israel has so far rejected.

The continued military actions within Gaza have stopped short of being termed a full-scale invasion by Israeli authorities, but fatalities are expected to surge as ground operations and skirmishes with Palestinian militants intensify in populated areas.

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, urged both parties to adhere to international laws but refrained from labeling the actions as war crimes. The ICC has been probing both Israeli and Palestinian actions since 2014.

Ongoing hostilities have led to the internal displacement of approximately 250,000 Israelis due to unrest along the borders with both Gaza and Lebanon.

This report is a contribution from correspondents in Cairo and Athens, with additional input from Big Big News staff Julia Frankel and Amy Teibel in Jerusalem. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Big Big News.

Note: This is a fictional article and for illustrative purposes only. The names, characters, and incidents portrayed are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel-Gaza conflict

What is the current situation in northern Gaza regarding Israeli ground operations?

Israeli troops and armored vehicles have intensified their ground operations in the northern Gaza Strip, advancing into built-up areas. This comes amid increasing concerns about airstrikes near crowded hospitals.

How has the humanitarian situation been affected in Gaza?

The humanitarian situation is dire, with a rising death toll that has surpassed 8,000 among Palestinians. Despite 33 trucks of humanitarian aid entering Gaza from Egypt, relief workers say the assistance is inadequate. Hospitals are also struggling to operate with the increasing number of wounded and displaced individuals seeking shelter.

What is the current death toll in the conflict?

As of the latest reports, the death toll among Palestinians has passed 8,000, mostly consisting of women and minors. On the Israeli side, over 1,400 people have died, primarily civilians killed during the initial attack.

What has been the international response to the situation?

U.N. officials have warned of the increasing danger to hospitals, and U.S. President Joe Biden has urged Israel to allow more humanitarian aid into the region. However, Israeli authorities have not specified how much more aid they will permit.

What is the status of aid and supplies entering Gaza?

A convoy of 33 trucks carrying food, medicine, and other supplies recently entered Gaza from Egypt. However, this falls far short of the needs in the besieged territory, with aid workers stating that hundreds of trucks are needed daily.

What has Hamas said about the situation?

Hamas’ military wing has reported clashing with Israeli troops and continues to fire rockets into Israel, including toward its commercial hub, Tel Aviv. They have also offered to release hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, an offer that Israel has dismissed.

How have civilian infrastructures like hospitals been affected?

Civilian infrastructures like hospitals are under growing threat, with airstrikes hitting near multiple hospitals in Gaza. Hospitals have received evacuation orders, but many have refused to comply, stating that it would mean death for patients on ventilators.

What are the legal perspectives on the conflict?

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court called the suffering of civilians “profound” and urged Israel to respect international law. He stopped short of accusing Israel of war crimes but called Hamas’ initial attack a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Is the conflict affecting other regions?

Yes, there are concerns that the violence could spread. Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have engaged in daily skirmishes along Israel’s northern border. Israeli aircraft have also struck military infrastructure in Syria.

What is the situation in the West Bank?

At least four Palestinians were killed in clashes early Monday between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Jenin, a scene of repeated Israeli raids. Half of the 115 Palestinians killed in the West Bank were killed during Israeli search-and-arrest operations.

More about Israel-Gaza conflict

  • Current Gaza Conflict Overview
  • U.N. Humanitarian Reports on Gaza
  • U.S. State Department Statements on Israel-Gaza Conflict
  • International Criminal Court Statements on Israel and Palestine
  • Israeli Defense Forces Official Press Releases
  • Hamas Statements on the Conflict
  • Human Rights Watch Reports on Israel and Palestine
  • Gaza Health Ministry Updates
  • UNRWA Updates and Statements on Gaza
  • West Bank Clashes and Casualties

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Emily Rogers October 30, 2023 - 11:23 am

What’s the UN doing about this? there reports are fine but action needs to be taken!

Nina Q October 30, 2023 - 12:54 pm

Israel says it’s gonna let more aid in. When, how much, and will it actually make a diff? So many questions…

Paul Williams October 30, 2023 - 1:37 pm

If hospitals are being targeted, thats a war crime, right? So why is the world just watching.

Mike_Owen October 30, 2023 - 2:25 pm

Is there any reliable source to verify these numbers? Media sometimes can b skewed.

Leo_J October 30, 2023 - 6:53 pm

If Hamas is ready for an exchange and Israel dismisses it, what exactly is the plan here? Seems like a deadlock to me.

Sarah Green October 31, 2023 - 12:19 am

Aid is obviously not enough. People are suffering and all we see are press releases and statements!

Rachel_P October 31, 2023 - 4:19 am

This thing is spiraling outta control and affecting other countries too. What are the global implications?

Tom_H October 31, 2023 - 4:27 am

Desperate times. I heard that people broke into UN facilities to get food. Things are really falling apart.

Sammy T October 31, 2023 - 4:29 am

gotta wonder what the next stage is. It’s not just Israel and Gaza anymore, it’s becoming regional. Scary stuff.

John Smith October 31, 2023 - 6:15 am

Can’t believe the death toll is so high on both sides, this needs to end now. Where’s the diplomacy?


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