Israel has bombed hundreds of targets across Gaza as it renewed its offensive following a week-long truce with Hamas which ended on Friday morning.
The Israeli military said it had attacked up to 50 “terror targets” with airstrikes, tank fire and its navy near the southern city of Khan Younis where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are sheltering.
Hundreds more strikes were carried out in the north with more than 400 targets attacked across the entire region as Hamas fired rockets towards Israel, according to the IDF.
Up to 200 Palestinians have been killed across the Gaza strip since the fighting resumed on Friday, the Gazan ministry of health said.
It comes after Israel accused Hamas of violating a week-long truce which saw the release of 97 Israeli and foreign hostages and 210 Palestinians.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “eliminate” Hamas to ensure Gaza “never poses a threat to the residents of Israel”.
But the United States has urged Israel to do everything possible to protect civilians and said it should not repeat what it did in the north.
“This is going to be very important going forward. It’s something we’re going to be looking at very closely,” US secretary of state Antony Blinken said.
In response, the IDF dropped leaflets across the south warning residents to leave. There had been no reports of large numbers of Palestinians leaving, according to the UN.
“There is no place to go,” said resident Emad Hajar, who fled with his wife and three children from the northern town of Beit Lahia a month ago to seek refuge in Khan Younis.“They expelled us from the north, and now they are pushing us to leave the south,” he said.
Meanwhile, The International Rescue Committee, an aid group operating in Gaza, warned the return of fighting will “wipe out even the minimal relief” provided by the truce and “prove catastrophic for Palestinian civilians.”
“The resumption of hostilities in Gaza is catastrophic,” Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, added.
“I urge all parties and states with influence over them to redouble efforts, immediately, to ensure a ceasefire on humanitarian and human rights grounds.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said he regretted the resumption of hostilities and hoped a new pause could be established. “The return to hostilities only shows how important it is to have a true humanitarian ceasefire,” he said.
Fighting also resumed in northern Israel on the Lebanese border after the Iran-backed group Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, said it had carried out several attacks on Israeli military positions.
The Israeli army said its artillery struck sources of fire from Lebanon and air defences had intercepted two launches. The army also said it struck a “terrorist cell”.
Up until the truce began, more than 13,300 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s assault, according to the Gazan health ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.
Israel says it is targeting Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods.
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