Israel Prepares for Gaza Ground Offensive as Palestinian Death Toll Mounts

Israel is making preparations for a ground offensive in Gaza, focusing on the northern areas, following the deadliest attack in its history, which resulted in over 2,200 Palestinian deaths.

Hamas launched a surprise attack that Israel likened to 9/11 in the United States, resulting in the deaths of over 1,300 people. In response, Israel initiated a massive bombing campaign in Gaza.

Approximately 1.1 million Gazans residing in the north of the Palestinian territory have been warned to evacuate to the south in anticipation of the ground incursion. The military has indicated that Gaza City, the headquarters of the Hamas group, will be a primary target.

While Israel has urged the prompt departure of Gaza City residents, the ground offensive is not set to begin on Sunday.

In response to these developments, thousands of Gazans, who are unable to leave due to the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, have packed their belongings and are making their way south through the rubble-strewn streets.

Fresh airstrikes were carried out by Israel in northern Gaza, and troops near the southern Israeli city of Sderot fired on the densely populated area.

The Israeli military reported the discovery of bodies of some hostages abducted by Hamas during its attacks within Gaza.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited troops on the border front line, heightening expectations of an imminent invasion.

The United States deployed a second aircraft carrier to deter hostile actions against Israel and prevent the war from escalating into a regional conflict.

Concerns are mounting over the safety of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, given its high population density and the possibility of intense urban combat and house-to-house fighting.

Aid agencies have expressed the difficulty of evacuating Gazans while the conflict continues, as essential supplies like food, water, fuel, and medical resources are running low due to the Israeli blockade.

Ismail Haniyeh, the exiled Hamas leader, accused Israel of war crimes but ruled out the displacement of Gazans to Egypt.

Diplomatically, Chinese and Saudi envoys are pushing for a ceasefire, while Russia has called for a UN Security Council vote on a ceasefire resolution.

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged support for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.

Several people were reportedly killed during an Israeli bombardment while heading south on Saturday, according to Hamas officials and witnesses.

International aid agencies, including the UN and Red Cross, are concerned about the feasibility of the evacuation plan.

Israel has pledged to destroy Hamas, but maintains that ordinary Palestinians are not the target.

The Hamas attack and Israeli retaliation have disrupted Middle Eastern politics, sparking fears of spreading violence in the volatile region.

Protests in support of Palestinians in Gaza have occurred across the Arab world and in Western capitals, including London and Washington.

Israel is also facing a potential confrontation on its northern border with Lebanon, with recent artillery exchanges involving the Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari has issued a warning that the army has substantial forces in the north and that anyone attempting to infiltrate Israel will face deadly consequences.

The safety of 150 hostages, including foreigners, held by Hamas during its rampage, is at risk. Hamas has threatened to kill them in response to Israeli airstrikes. Israel’s army has contacted the families of 120 civilians held captive and is calling for the transfer of medicines to the captives as soon as possible.

Syed Hassan Shah

Social activist and junior reporter at thepost e-newspaper.

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