Sat. May 18th, 2024

New Delhi: Thousands of Palestinians have fled to southern Gaza to seek refuge after Israel warned them to evacuate in light of a planned ground offensive against Hamas. Here are 10 points on this big story:

1. The Israeli army said that ground forces made “localised” raids into Gaza in the last 24 hours. The aim of the raids was to “cleanse the area of terrorists and weaponry in addition to finding “missing persons”, the army said. Israel has alleged that Hamas took about 150 Israeli, foreign, and dual national hostages during the attacks last week.

2. “Over the past 24 hours, IDF (Israeli military) forces carried out localised raids inside the territory of the Gaza Strip to complete the effort to cleanse the area of terrorists and weaponry,” an Israeli army statement said.

3. The Israeli military said today that a senior Hamas commander, who headed the group’s aerial operations in Gaza City, has been killed in an airstrike. Israeli fighter jets struck a Hamas operation centre, killing Murad Abu Murad.

4. Following the attacks, at least 1,900 Gazans — including over 600 children — have been killed in wave after wave of Israeli airstrikes on the densely populated Gaza enclave.

5. As violence escalates in the region, tensions spilled over to other nations in the Middle East and beyond with protests erupting in major cities in support of Palestinians and condemnation of Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings, killing civilians. Thousands protested in Beirut, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and Bahrain in support of the Palestinians.

6. Israel also faces a separate confrontation on its northern front with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group. The Israeli army said its forces were “responding with artillery fire towards Lebanese territory” after a blast damaged the border barrier.

7. A Reuters video journalist was killed in south Lebanon in an Israeli strike, while two other Reuters reporters, two from AFP, and two from Al Jazeera were injured.

8. The United Nations said the Israeli military’s advice to 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza to immediately relocate to the south in 24 hours was “impossible”. “Forcing population transfers constitutes a crime against humanity, and collective punishment is prohibited under international humanitarian law,” a UN official said.

9. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said hospitals in Gaza are struggling to handle the sheer number of dead and injured from relentless Israeli airstrikes and shelling. The health system in Gaza is “at a breaking point”, the WHO said.

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