Fighting in Gaza, situation of civilians and more

Israel is preparing for a new phase of war as displaced Palestinians face dire conditions. This is what you need to know

Yoav Galant speaks in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 18, 2023. Maya Alleruzzo/AP

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant on Thursday unveiled plans for the next phase of the war in Gaza, including a new war focus in the north and a continued focus on attacking Hamas leaders in the southern sector.

The Defense Minister’s summary of the next phase of the war comes as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to deepen.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have expanded their operation in central and southern Gaza, issuing a new set of evacuation instructions to Palestinians, many of whom were already displaced. Many civilians in central Gaza told CNN that they were too tired to flee again and instead wished they could return home to “die with dignity”.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians live in tent camps in southern cities, with little access to basic health services, food, fuel or clean water. Many people sleep on the streets with inadequate clothing to stay warm during the winter season.

This is the most recent:

Civilian casualties: US State Department spokesman Matt Miller said the “results” still do not match Israeli intentions regarding the protection of civilians in Gaza, adding that this would be a topic of discussion during the next visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. , For the area. The United States has strongly supported Israel’s war against Hamas, but weeks of sustained Israeli attacks on Gaza have exposed divisions among the close allies. More than 22,000 people have been killed in the enclave since October 7, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

New calls for ceasefire: The PA’s deputy foreign minister urged Blinken to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during his visit. Speaking to CNN, Amal Jadou said Israel is “pushing the entire region into confrontation,” which “is not creating peace.”

Border skirmishes: The head of the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon met with Lebanese officials to discuss the situation on the border with Israel, while Israeli officials promised to address security concerns in a meeting on the same topic with the US envoy. The conflict between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah paramilitary group operating in southern Lebanon has intensified with the killing of a senior Hamas leader in Beirut.

ISIS claims attack on Iran: ISIS has claimed responsibility for two deadly bombings at a memorial to a military commander in southeastern Iran. The allegations came in the time between the blasts and ISIS’s announcement: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed Israel for the blasts, raising fears that a war between Israel and Hamas could escalate into a broader regional conflict. The Israeli army has not commented on the attack.

UN Concerns: UN human rights chief Volker Turk said he was “deeply troubled” by comments made this week by two far-right Israeli government ministers pushing for the resettlement of Gaza civilians to “third countries” outside Gaza. The comments by Israeli officials have been criticized by several countries, including the United States.

Hostages in Gaza: IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the Israeli military now believes three Israelis missing since the October 7 Hamas attacks are being held hostage in Gaza. Israel’s military has said the official number of hostages in Gaza may fluctuate after receiving the latest intelligence. Israel believes there are now 108 hostages alive in Gaza who were captured during the attack.

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