Israel's military pushed deeper south Tuesday in Gaza after it called for more evacuations in the southern portion of the enclave in its pursuit to wipe out the territory's Hamas rulers. The war has already killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza's 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.
The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 15,890, with more than 41,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children. Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods.
The United States, Qatar and Egypt, which mediated the earlier cease-fire, say they are working on a longer truce. But hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend. Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by militants on Oct. 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire.
— Israel orders evacuations as it widens its offensive, but Palestinians are running out of places to go.
— Pennsylvania's governor rebukes Philadelphia protesters for chanting outside an Israeli restaurant.
— A global journalist group says the Israel-Hamas conflict is a war beyond compare for media deaths.
— The kibbutz of Nir Oz can illuminate Hamas’ hostage strategy, an operation that was unprecedented both in scope and execution.
— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Here’s what’s happening in the war:
TURKEY WARNS ISRAEL NOT TO TARGET HAMAS MEMBERS ON TURKISH SOIL, STATE-RUN NEWS AGENCY SAYS
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish intelligence officials have warned their Israeli counterparts of “serious consequences” if they attempt to target members of Hamas on Turkish soil.
The warning, reported by the Anadolu Agency late Monday, came after Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet, said in an audio recording that his organization is prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place,” including in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.
Anadolu Agency, quoting unnamed Turkish intelligence officials, said “necessary warnings were made” to Israeli officials who were told their actions would “have serious consequences.” The agency also quoted the officials as saying that Turkey had prevented “illegal activities” by foreign operatives in the past and that no foreign intelligence agency would be allowed to carry out operations on Turkish territory. Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been accused of involvement in a series of assassinations overseas of Palestinian militants and Iranian nuclear scientists over the years.
Turkey has hosted Hamas officials and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government considers Hamas to be a liberation organization, not a terrorist group.
SATELLITE PHOTOS SHOW THE ISRAELI MILITARY HAS BEGUN ITS SOUTHERN OFFENSIVE IN GAZA
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite photos analyzed Tuesday by The Associated Press show that the Israeli military has begun its ground offensive in the southern reaches of the Gaza Strip as part of its war against Hamas.
Since the collapse of a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that saw militant-held hostages swapped for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, the Israeli military has launched an intense campaign of airstrikes and ground fighting in the southern Gaza Strip as well. The satellite photos released by Planet Labs PBC provide the first clear look at the intensity and scope at which the Israelis are fighting.
The images, shot Sunday by Planet, show Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers just under 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the heart of Khan Younis, the major city of the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Many who fled the Israeli offensive and airstrike campaign in Gaza City's north now live around Khan Younis and other nearby areas after the Israeli military ordered them to evacuate.
The Israeli deployment sits just to the west of Salah al-Din, a main north-south corridor within the Gaza Strip that many used to flee. An AP analysis found positions in four clusters, with a total of around 150 armored personnel carriers, tanks and other vehicles in the area. Israeli soldiers have created packed dirt berms around some of their positions, which can be used for cover.
Fresh tank tracks could be seen chewed through the ground there, suggesting the movements were recent.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press regarding their strategy for the offensive and what the satellite photos showed. However, the maneuver and the number of vehicles there suggests that the Israeli military is preparing to potentially move south in Khan Younis. Fighting already has been reported in the area.
Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.
FAMILIES OF HOSTAGES HELD BY HAMAS WILL MEET WITH NETANYAHU
TEL AVIV, Israel — The families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza say they are set to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after demanding a sit-down with him.
The families have sought to meet with Netanyahu and his wartime Cabinet since a truce deal between Israel and Hamas that saw the release of 105 hostages expired Nov. 30. Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, many families have complained that they were not adequately kept informed of the efforts to secure their loved ones’ release. About 240 people were taken hostage.
The families say Netanyahu and other leaders have for days dodged their requests to meet. The meeting is expected to take place Tuesday.
The families say they want to hear from Netanyahu that he has their relatives’ fate in mind as Israel moves ahead in its war against Hamas.