[Live] Israeli army claims to encircle the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis
Fierce fighting continued Thursday in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and the Israeli army, which has taken the major city of Khan Younis where it is hunting down the man it considers the mastermind of the bloody attack on October 7.
Smoke rises over the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023. AP - Ariel Schalit
By: Internet Editorial Board
■ Since the end of the truce on Friday, December 1, the Israeli army has shifted its offensive to the southern half of the territory. The civilian population is being forced to move to an increasingly cramped perimeter in Rafah, along the Egyptian border. The Israeli army says it is encircling the town of Khan Younis where it claims to have broken through Hamas' defensive lines.
■ Antonio Guterres warned of a "total collapse of law and order soon due to desperate conditions" in Gaza, in an unprecedented letter to the Security Council. In it, he invoked, for the first time since his arrival at the head of the UN, Article 99 of the Charter, which allows him to "draw the attention of the Council" to a matter that "could endanger the maintenance of international peace and security".
About 16,250 Palestinians, 70 percent of them women and children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, according to the Hamas government. More than 42,000 Palestinians have been injured. More than 1,200 Israelis were killed.
■ During the truce, 110 hostages — 86 Israelis and 24 foreigners — were freed by Hamas, according to Israel's count. For its part, Israel has released 240 Palestinian prisoners;138 hostages remain in Gaza City, according to Israel.
Information given in Universal Time (UTC)
06:10 a.m.: Israeli army says it is surrounding the house of the mastermind of the October 7 attack in Khan Younis
Fierce fighting continued Thursday in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and the Israeli army, which captured Khan Younis, where it is hunting down the architect of the bloody October 7 attack on Israel. In the largest city in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli infantry, armored vehicles and bulldozers reached the city center, witnesses said. The Israeli military claimed Wednesday night to have "breached the defensive lines" of Hamas, "eliminated a number of terrorists" and destroyed about "30 tunnel entrances."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli forces were "encircling the house of (Yahya) Sinwar," the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in Khan Younis. "Sinwar is hiding underground," army spokesman Daniel Hagari said, referring to Hamas' tunnels in Gaza.
As night fell on Wednesday, thick clouds of black smoke and flames continued to rise from Gaza. Earlier in the day, trails from rockets fired into Israel from Rafah, in the south of the small Palestinian territory, also dotted the sky.
06:00: Israel authorises 'minimal supplement' of fuel to Gaza to avoid 'humanitarian collapse'
Israel will allow a "minimum fuel surcharge" that it deems "necessary to avoid a humanitarian collapse" in Gaza. "The security cabinet tonight approved the war cabinet's recommendation to allow a minimum fuel surcharge," Netanyahu's office said on X, formerly Twitter. He said the increase was "necessary to avoid a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics in the southern Gaza Strip," which is controlled by Hamas. "The minimum quantity will be determined periodically by the war cabinet according to the health and humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip," he added.
The announcement comes amid heightened international pressure as fighting intensifies in the southern Gaza Strip and the UN warns of "a total breakdown of law and order soon due to desperate conditions."
On Wednesday, the UN secretary-general said he feared that "even limited humanitarian assistance" would become "impossible", pointing to "the constant bombardment by the Israeli armed forces" and "the lack of shelter or the minimum to survive". For the first time since taking office in 2017, Guterres invoked Article 99 of the Charter, which allows him to "draw the attention of the Council" to a case that "could endanger the maintenance of international peace and security".
In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called Guterres' tenure a "danger to world peace," saying the activation of Article 99 and the call for a ceasefire "constitutes support for the terrorist organization Hamas."
► A look back at the day of December 5 by clicking here
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