Israel expands war on Gaza, int’l concern mounts over civilians - as it happened

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Dec 2023

Israel expanded its war on Gaza on Monday, as international concern deepened over the mounting civilian death toll. The return to open warfare after a truce between Israel and Hamas broke down has had ripple effects around a region on the cusp of a wider conflagration. More than 15,500 people have been killed in the besieged Palestinian territory, according to the Gaza health ministry, in more than eight weeks of combat and heavy bombardment.

Displaced Palestinians who fled from Khan Yunis, sit with their belongings outside makeshift shelters in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 4, 2023, amid continuing as battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. AFP


22:00 Telecommunication services were cut off in the Gaza strip after having been repaired, the Palestinian telecoms company Paltel said in a statement on Monday.

"We regret to announce that all telecom services in Gaza Strip have been lost due to the cut off of main fibre routes from the Israeli side," PalTel said in a message on social media. "Gaza is... blacked out again."

20:00 The United States said Monday it was asking Israel to let more fuel into the battered Gaza Strip after the end of a pause in its ally's war on the enclave.

"We've made clear we want to see it back up not just to the level of fuel that went in during the pause, but actually higher," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

19:00 This evening, numerous civilians were killed, and others suffered injuries as Israeli air raids relentlessly struck scores of homes in the Shajaiya and Zaytoun neighbourhoods of Gaza, as reported by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Israeli jets carried out extensive bombardments on multiple houses in these neighbourhoods, resulting in the tragic deaths and injuries of many residents. The attacks targeted homes with inhabitants inside, amplifying the human toll.

Additionally, Israeli warplanes and artillery aimed their assault at numerous commercial stores along Omar Mukhtar St. in the city, causing widespread destruction to these establishments. The intensified attacks underscore the severe impact on both residential and commercial areas, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

18:30 The official Palestinian news agency said at least 50 people were killed on Monday in an Israeli air strike that hit two schools sheltering displaced people in the north of the Gaza Strip.

The reported attack took place as Israeli bombs also hit southern areas of the enclave, and Israeli troops and tanks pressed a ground campaign against Hamas militants in that sector.

The strike hit the Daraj neighbourhood in Gaza City, the WAFA agency said.

17:00 Gaza-based Palestinian graphic artist Ola Al-namara shared a photo on "X" of a food aid box sent as part of the humanitarian relief from Egypt. The box contained a note quoting a verse from the Holy Quran: 'A Victory from God and an imminent conquest' that the members of the Life Makers NGO’s branch in Menoufiya had signed. 

(9) Ola 𓂆🇵🇸 on X: "وصلتنا الرسالة من المنوفية لغزة حبايبنا أهل مصر 🇪🇬🇵🇸♥️" / X (

Al-namara wrote the following caption for the picture. 'We received this message which came all the way from Moenoufiya to Gaza. Our beloved kin in Egypt.' 

The Life Makers NGO is a member of Egypt’s National Alliance for Civil Development Work (NACDW), which sent the largest humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza in November. This convoy comprised over 500 trucks carrying 8950 tons of medicines, food, clothes, and blankets destined for Gaza.

14:30 The Israeli National Security Council raised its travel warnings for 80 countries due to what it called growing threats to Israelis as a result of the war on Gaza, Israeli media reported.

The council said that there are increased efforts by Iran, Hamas, and elements of global jihad, to attack Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.

Many Western countries were moved from the Level 1 category, which advises “basic precautionary measures” to Level 2, which advises “increased precautionary measures,” according to Jpost.

The United Kingdom, Germany, and France were all on that list, as were Brazil, Argentina Australia, and Russia.
A more severe warning (level 3) was issued for South Africa, Eritrea, and some countries in Asia.

14:20 The Israeli prime minister's office said it had tallied the remains of 15 of its citizens that are still being held in the Gaza Strip.

These include the remains of 11 civilians and four soldiers, one of them a senior officer, although the PM’s office did not elaborate further.

14:15 The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday, after arriving in war-torn Gaza, warned that the suffering in the Palestinian territory was "intolerable."

"I repeat our urgent call for civilians to be protected in line with the laws of war and for aid to enter unimpeded," Mirjana Spoljaric said on X, formerly Twitter, adding that "the captives must be released and ICRC allowed to safely visit them."


14:00 In the occupied West Bank, 15 Palestinians were wounded during confrontations with Israeli forces who were storming the Qalandia refugee camp and the Kafr Aqab suburb north of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained at least 60 Palestinians in raids on homes in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Commission and Prisoner Society. This raises the total number of Palestinians detained since 7 October to 3,540.

13:00 The Israeli army killed 30 Palestinians in the Al-Zaytoun and Al-Shujaiya neighborhoods, south and east of Gaza City, in non-stop bombardment of civilian areas, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

WAFA correspondents reported that Israeli warplanes bombed dozens of residential homes in both neighbourhoods, adding that the majority of those killed in the bombing were children.

Earlier, two people were killed and at least 10 injured when Israeli airstrikes targeted a group of civil defence crews in the Al-Tuffah neighborhood, northeast of Gaza City.

The correspondent added that Israeli artillery pieces surrounded the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, specifically the old town of Gaza City, as warplanes and drones bombarded civilian areas.

11:45 Dozens of Israeli tanks entered the southern part of the Gaza Strip near Khan Younis, witnesses told AFP, with the Israeli military widely expected to start ground operations in the area soon.


Armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers were also seen. Amin Abu Hola, 59, said the Israeli vehicles were "two kilometres (1.2 miles) inside" the Palestinian territory in the village of Al-Qarara near Khan Younis. Meanwhile, Moaz Mohammed, 34, said Israeli tanks were on the southern part of Salah Al-Din road which runs from the north to the south of the strip.

The head of Israel’s domestic security agency, Shin Bet, says his organization is prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place,” including in other Middle Eastern countries, AP reported.

“In every place, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar, everywhere,” Bar said in an audio recording aired late Sunday by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan. “It’ll take a few years but we will be there to do it,” he added.

Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been accused of involvement in a series of assassinations overseas of Palestinian fighters and Iranian nuclear scientists over the years.

11:40 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be tried as a war criminal over Israel's ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.

In a speech at a meeting of an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) committee in Istanbul, Erdogan said that Gaza is Palestinian land and will always belong to the Palestinians. 

"We are preparing the legal files necessary for Netanyahu's trial," Erdogan said.

On Wednesday, Erdogan branded Netanyahu  "the butcher of Gaza" and accused him of spawning anti-Semitism across the world.


11:30 Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that Israel seeks to displace Palestinians to Rafah, urging the world to reject its plan.

“We regret Israel’s demand to reduce killing instead of a ceasefire,” Shtayyeh said at the beginning of a session of the Palestinian government.

He stressed that the failure to hold Israel accountable for its crimes has encouraged it to kill more.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli leaders and urged them to take concrete steps to reduce civilian deaths among Palestinians.

Blinken said he had made clear to Israeli leaders the “imperative” of a “clear plan in place that puts a premium on protecting civilians” before any military operation begins in southern Gaza.


11:00 Three Israeli soldiers stationed at a post in Upper Galilee were wounded by mortar fire from Lebanon.

Cross-border exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel resumed just hours after the expiry of the truce in Gaza last week, which had largely halted violence at the Lebanon-Israel border.

10:45 The Israeli army announced the deaths of another three troops killed in the fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, bringing the military death toll since the start of the war on Gaza on 7 October to 401, including 75 since Israel launched its ground offensive in late October.

10:30 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial on corruption charges resumed in the Jerusalem District Court after a two-month hiatus, Israeli media reported.

Netanyahu is exempt from appearing at these hearings, but he may be required to testify in a few months.

An emergency order that Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin put in place for the courts when the war erupted expired last week, and most courts have been ordered to resume normal operations.

Netanyahu faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in one case, and charges of fraud and breach of trust in two other cases.

9:30 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks over the phone with US Vice President Kamala Harris on her flight from Dubai back to Washington DC, stressing that his authority rejects any plan to occupy or isolate any part of Gaza, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The head of the Palestinian Authority also voiced his rejection of the forced displacement of the Palestinian people, whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Harris on her part "reiterated US support for the Palestinian people and their right to security, dignity, and self-determination," according to a White House press statement based on the call.

She also discussed the situation in the West Bank, voicing concerns over steps that could escalate tensions in the West Bank, including Israeli settler violence, according to the press statement.

Harris and Abbas also discussed US plans for a post-war Gaza once the war in the strip ends, in this regard, Harris "reiterated US support for a unified West Bank and Gaza under a revitalized Palestinian Authority," the statement added.

Above all, Harris underscored the US commitment to a two-state solution and said that "the Palestinian people must have a clear political horizon."

9:28 The Israeli army said it has attacked 200 Hamas targets in the last 24 hours.

A Palestinian girl wounded in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is brought to a hospital in Khan Younis, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 AP

9:14 Two Palestinians were killed, others were injured and arrested during an Israeli army raid of the city of Qalqilya, in the north of the occupied West Bank, WAFA news agency reported citing the Ministry of Health and local sources.

According to the health ministry, Israeli forces and settlers have killed 464 Palestinians since the start of this year, including 256 killed since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza on 7 October.

Israel has also detained more than 3,290 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said last week.

9:00 Hamas and the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that a strike had hit the entrance of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in the north of Gaza late Sunday.

Several people were killed in the strike, the news agency said. Hamas accused Israel on Telegram of a "grave violation" of humanitarian law.



8:06 A senior delegation of Biden administration officials will arrive in Israel later today for meetings with Israeli counterparts to discuss planning for post-war Gaza, the White House said.

The US delegation will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank, according to the Walla news site.

The US is pressing Israel to avoid more mass displacement and the killing of civilians, a message underscored by Vice President Kamala Harris during a visit to the region. She also said the US would not allow the forced relocation of Palestinians out of Gaza or the occupied West Bank, or the redrawing of Gaza's borders.

Israel has rejected US suggestions that control over postwar Gaza be handed over to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority ahead of renewed efforts to resolve the conflict by establishing a Palestinian state.




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