Israel bombs Gaza as pressure mounts to protect civilians - as it happened

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Dec 2023

Israel struck Gaza targets Sunday in its war on the strip, as international concern deepened over mounting civilian deaths on the third day of war after a truce ended. More than 15,500 people have been killed in the besieged Palestinian territory in more than eight weeks of combat and heavy bombardment. Israeli air and artillery strikes hit Gaza's northern frontier with Israel, throwing thick clouds of smoke and dust into the sky.

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to the hospital in Deir al Balah on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. AP


23:00 At least 26 civilians lost their lives this evening in Israeli airstrikes that specifically targeted two residences in the city of Rafah, located in the southern region of the Gaza Strip.

According to reports from WAFA correspondents, a tragic toll unfolded as a result of the bombardment. At least 26 people were killed, with dozens more sustaining injuries. Additionally, there are reports of several people still missing. The targeted strikes focused on the residences of the Al-Hams family within the Yabna refugee camp and the al-Bawab family in the al-Janina neighbourhood.

22:30 The Israeli occupation army radio said on Sunday that Israeli forces have launched a ground operation on northern Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israel on Sunday ordered the evacuation of residents in and around Khan Younis, the second largest city in Gaza, along with residents of at least five more nearby areas.

Residents said the Israeli military dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to Rafah or a coastal area in the southwest. “Khan Younis city is a dangerous combat zone,” the leaflets read.

Later on Sunday, Israeli military forces started ground operations and Israeli tanks shelled sites north of Khan Younis, as reported by Al-Hadath TV channel.

Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Herzi Halevi confirms the military is beginning to operate in southern Gaza.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that about 1.8 million people, roughly 75 percent of Gaza’s population, are internally displaced, up from a previous figure of 1.7 million.

The main hospital in Khan Younis received on Sunday at least three dead and dozens wounded from an Israeli strike against a residential building in the eastern part of the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the hospital.

21:30 Palestinian residents of a town in the West Bank accused Israeli settlers of a violent raid that killed a man, a death confirmed by the local ambulance service. Local residents say the incursions have become increasingly more violent since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, while Israeli occupation troops were standing by and letting violence unfold without intervening.

The comments came a day after residents said settlers raided two Palestinian communities in the north of the occupied West Bank, burning cars and clashing with residents who came out to confront them. "They besieged the houses, burned the cars, pushed the car down a hill and burned it, and the soldier stood there and did not say a thing," said Mustafa Mohammad, a resident of Qarawat Bani Hassan, where a 38-year-old man was shot dead.

21:00 The Pentagon said it was aware of reports regarding attacks on an American warship and commercial vessels in the Red Sea on Sunday, as Yemen's Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area.

"We're aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available," the Pentagon said.

ABC News, citing a US official, said the USS Carney had been involved in multiple engagements involving Houthi attacks on commercial vessels. "In at least two circumstances, the Carney successfully shot down (drones) headed in its direction," the official told ABC.

British maritime security company Ambrey said earlier that a bulk carrier and a container ship had been hit by at least two drones while sailing in the Red Sea. Ambrey said the container ship had reportedly suffered damage from a drone attack about 63 miles northwest of the northern Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

20:45 The Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, was able to explode an Israeli minefield in Khan Younis and kill an Israeli force of 8 soldiers.

The Al-Qassam Brigades released a statement late on Sunday stating, "Al-Qassam mujahideen were able to detonate a minefield, killing a Zionist ground force of eight soldiers. Those who survived were finished off at close range northeast of the city of Khan Younis.”

Earlier, Al-Qassam noted on its official Telegram channel that its members were able to detonate the opening of one of its tunnels on a group of Israeli soldiers east of Beit Lahia.

It wrote, “Al-Qassam mujahideen were able to blow up a tunnel opening on a group of enemy soldiers east of Beit Lahia, after booby-trapping it with explosive devices and luring the enemy to the mouth of the tunnel.”

Hours before, Al-Qassam also announced that its fighters had clashed with Israeli soldiers, eliminating several, and had destroyed three Israeli vehicles east of Deir al-Balah with bombs and “Al-Yassin 105” shells.

The Palestinian resistance announced that it was engaged with Israeli occupation forces on several fronts and that it had directed missile strikes at Tel Aviv, Ashdod, and Israeli-controlled portions of the Gaza Strip.

"Our fighters successfully bombed a gathering of occupation soldiers east of Khan Younis with mortar shells, east of Deir al-Balah with heavy-calibre mortar shells and, east of the Magin settlement with a missile salvo," the statement published on their Telegram channel read.

Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv was closed after Hamas launched multiple missiles towards the Israeli city, an Al-Arabiya correspondent reported late on Saturday.

Al-Qassam also noted that three explosive devices were triggered by a force of 60 Israeli soldiers at their muster point east of the Juhr al-Dik area in central Gaza.

20:00 More than 100 protesters gathered on Sunday on the sidelines of the COP28 UN climate summit to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Holding banners calling for a "ceasefire" and "climate decolonisation", activists in the Dubai Expo City chanted "Free, Free Palestine". "We are seeking an end to the siege, end to the occupation," Palestinian-American Tariq Luthun told Reuters after taking part in an earlier, smaller demonstration calling for a ceasefire.

19:00 Eleven Palestinian civilians were killed Sunday evening after Israeli occupation aircraft bombed a house in the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.

WAFA correspondents reported that at least 11 people were killed and dozens injured, in addition to a number of missing persons, after Israeli warplanes bombed a house belonging to Al-Hams family inside the Yabna camp in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.

18:00 Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels on Sunday said they had attacked two ships off the Yemeni coast, adding the "Israeli" vessels were targeted over the war in Gaza.

In a statement posted on social media, the Houthis said they carried out an "operation against two Israeli ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait," a strategic waterway connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, targeting the first with a "missile and the second ship with a drone".

17:00 The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said 15,523 people had died in the Strip since the start of the Israeli war.

Seventy percent of the Palestinians killed in the war were women and children, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, adding that 41,316 people had been wounded.

"During the past hours, only 316 dead and 664 wounded were removed from the rubble and taken to hospitals, but many others are still under the rubble," Qudra said.

16:00 A UK-owned ship passing through the Red Sea has reportedly been hit by rocket fire, a UK-based maritime security group said Sunday, with another agency reporting possible drone activity in the area.

The unnamed Bahamas-flagged vessel was "struck by a rocket" while sailing south around 35 nautical miles off Yemen's western coast, maritime security firm Ambrey said, citing reports.

"The affected vessel was issuing distress calls relating to piracy/missile attack," the UK-based company added.

It noted reports that "an international naval asset in the vicinity of the incident" was likely proceeding to the ship's location.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency, run by Britain's Royal Navy, said it had received "a report of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) activity including a potential explosion... originating from the direction of Yemen".

It advised vessels in the area to "exercise caution".

The reported incident comes amid heightened tensions in the Red Sea and surrounding waters after Houthi rebels seized an Israeli-linked cargo vessel, the Galaxy Leader, last month.

Within days two ballistic missiles were also launched from an area controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen, landing around 10 nautical miles from a US destroyer, the USS Mason, according to the Pentagon.

The Houthis have fired a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since October 7.

The spike in maritime incidents prompted G7 foreign ministers at a meeting earlier this week to urge the rebels to cease threats to international shipping and to release the Galaxy Leader.

14:46 Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Khan said that his office will “further intensify its efforts to advance its investigations” in the occupied Palestinian territories after he visited the occupied West Bank and Israel for the first time since his appointment.

The Hague-based court has been investigating crimes in the Palestinian territories committed by both sides since 2021 but has yet to announce any charges. Israel is not a member state of the court and does not recognize its jurisdiction.

Khan said in a written statement issued after his visit that he is ready to engage with local prosecutors in line with the principle of complementarity – the ICC is a court of last resort set up to prosecute war crimes when local courts cannot or will not take action.

Palestinian human rights groups refused to meet him on Saturday, accusing him of favouring Israel.

"As Palestinian human rights organizations, we decided not to meet him," said Ammar Al-Dwaik, director general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).

"I think the way this visit has been handled shows that Mr Khan is not handling his work in an independent and professional manner," he said.

14:00 On Sunday afternoon, demonstrators held a Pro-Palestinian protest against Israel near the Israeli pavilion in Dubai at the COP28 Summit. They waved watermelon flags — a pro-Palestinian symbol — and other placards and read the names of children and elderly killed by Israel in Gaza, with some demonstrators weeping as they named the dead.

Israel's war on Gaza has pushed its way to centre stage at UN climate talks in Dubai, with leaders and activists calling for a ceasefire.

13:58 Pope Francis said he was saddened the truce in the Gaza Strip had been broken and urged those involved to reach a new ceasefire deal as soon as possible.

"There is so much suffering in Gaza," the pontiff said in Italian from his private residence, in remarks broadcast on giant screens in Saint Peter's Square.

He said the end of the ceasefire meant "death, destruction, misery," stressing that the besieged Palestinian territory lacked even essential supplies.

He said the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories was "serious." "Many hostages have been freed but so many others are still in Gaza," he said.

13:00 The Israeli occupation army threatened to attack the Shujaiya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza with “huge firepower." 

“This is a final notice. You are all targets,” the Israeli army spokesman said on X, attaching pictures of Hamas commanders he claimed were in charge of the Shujaiya battalion.

On Saturday, the Israeli army bombed more than 50 residential buildings and homes in the Shujaiya neighbourhood, in addition to other areas in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 700 during the past 24 hours, according to the Gaza Information Office.

12:45 An Israeli security official said that an attempted attack by a Yemeni drone was thwarted in the Red Sea, according to Israeli Ynet. 

Earlier, Britain's Maritime Trade Operations Agency (UKMTO) said that it had received reports of drone activity and a possible explosion in the Red Sea's Bab Al-Mandab strait.

UKMTO said the drone activity originated from Yemen and called on vessels in the vicinity to exercise caution.

12:35 The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said that about 1.8 million people – roughly 75 percent of Gaza’s population – are internally displaced, up from a previous figure of 1.7 million. 

“However, obtaining an accurate count is challenging,” it said.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk warned that "as a result of Israel's conduct of hostilities and its orders for people to leave the north and parts of the south, hundreds of thousands are being confined into ever smaller areas in southern Gaza."

"I repeat, there is no safe place in Gaza," he said.

11:50 At least 700 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes within 24 hours, Gaza Media Office announced.

The Israeli military widened evacuation orders in and around Khan Younis, asking residents of at least five more areas and neighborhoods to leave for their safety.

Residents said the Israeli military dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to Rafah or a coastal area in the southwest. “Khan Younis city is a dangerous combat zone,” the leaflets read.

The main hospital in Khan Younis received at least three dead and dozens wounded Sunday morning from an Israeli strike that hit a residential building in the eastern part of the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the hospital.

Separately, the bodies of 31 people who were killed in Israeli bombardment across the central areas of the strip were taken to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza’s central city of Deir Al-Balah, said Omar al-Darawi, an administrative employee at that hospital.

10:30 The Colonization & Wall Resistance Commission in Palestine documented 1,692 attacks by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank during November.

The head of the Palestinian Commission, Moayed Shaaban, said that the Israeli army carried out 1,472 attacks, while settlers carried out 220 attacks.

The commission also registered the forced displacement of 35 families from four Bedouin communities, the uprooting and burning of 3,232 trees, and the demolition of 80 homes and agricultural facilities.

Moreover, Shaaban revealed that the occupation authorities have recently proposed 19 structural plans to expand settlements to build 2,364 outposts in Palestinian territory.

10:15 Across the globe, demonstrations in Istanbul, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Paris showed solidarity with the Palestinians.

Check our photo gallery here.

9:45 Israeli forces stormed the house of Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri in the Al-Sawana neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, Al Jazeera reported.

9:30 The World Health Organization (WHO) said that reports of ongoing heavy bombardment in Gaza are "petrifying," stating that patients were receiving care on the floor in Nassar Hospital, screaming in pain.

“Yesterday our team visited Nassar Medical Hospital in the south. It was packed with 1,000 patients — 3 times over its capacity,” WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X.

He added that countless people were seeking shelter in the hospital, filling every corner of the facility.

"These conditions are beyond inadequate - unimaginable for the provision of health care. I cannot find words strong enough to express our concern over what we’re witnessing," Ghebreyesus said 

"Ceasefire. NOW," he added.

9:05 A 21-year-old Palestinian youth identified as Adnan Issam Zaid was shot dead by Israeli forces in the early hours of Sunday, during an incursion into the city of Qalqilya, in the north of the occupied West Bank, WAFA news agency reported.

Israeli forces opened indiscriminate fire while conducting search and arrest raids that targeted several homes in the city, WAFA added, citing local sources.

Concurrently, confrontations erupted between local youths and Israeli forces, the latter positioning themselves on rooftops overlooking the city's main streets and neighborhoods.

9:01 Colombian President Gustavo Petro took to X to condemn Israeli airstrikes on Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza as reminiscent of "Nazi practices," highlighting Western countries' reluctance to acknowledge it

"They say this is not Nazis. Even if the Western conscience does not like these facts, the extermination of 5,300 Palestinians boys and girls is Nazis, I repeat NAZIS," he wrote.


9:00 At least 16 Palestinians were killed and several others were injured in the early hours of Sunday morning as Israeli airstrikes, the heaviest of the war, targeted residential blocks in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, and the Al-Bureij refugee camp, in the center of the territory.

The first attack struck a residential building in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, killing seven Palestinians, including women and children, with additional injuries reported. 

Shortly after, another airstrike hit a house in the Al-Jenena neighborhood, east of Rafah, killing at least nine Palestinians, with more casualties anticipated as rescue operations continue. 

In eastern Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, Israeli artillery struck several homes, causing further casualties and injuries.

Additionally, Israeli warplanes targeted a house in the Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City, resulting in more casualties and injuries.

On Saturday, Israel pounded crowded southern Gaza and ordered more neighbourhoods to evacuate.

Bombardments on Saturday destroyed a block of about 50 residential buildings in the Shijaiyah neighbourhood of Gaza City and a six-story building in the urban refugee camp of Jabaliya on the northern edge of the city, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

More than 60 people were killed in the Shijaiyah strikes and more than 300 were buried under the rubble, the monitors said, citing the Palestinian Red Crescent. 

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza stood at more than 15,200 on Saturday, according to an announcement by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Here's a quick round up of yesterday's events.


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