Israeli tanks, missiles strike Gaza in offensive against Hamas

Israeli soldier takes position in the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in this handout picture released on December 27, 2023. Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS

By Nidal Al-Mughrabi and Bassam Masoud Reuters

 Israeli forces attacked areas of the central and southern Gaza Strip where residents have been expecting a renewed ground offensive in areas crammed with tens of thousands of Palestinians already displaced by the Israeli-Hamas war.

With nightfall on Thursday, an Israeli airstrike on a house in the southern city of Khan Younis killed eight Palestinians, health officials said. Three Palestinians were killed and six injured in an Israeli missile strike on a house in Maghazi camp in central Gaza, the Palestine Red Crescent said.

“The task here is to dismantle Hamas – so that it no longer has military and governing capabilities,” Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said at a press briefing on operations in Khan Younis. “We will be required to show a lot of perseverance and determination.”

A Palestinian journalist posted pictures of Israeli tanks near a mosque in a built-up area of Bureij in central Gaza.

The Islamist group Hamas released video it said showed its fighters targeting Israeli tanks and soldiers east of Bureij. Reuters was not able to verify the location or the date the video was filmed.

“That moment has come, I wished it would never happen, but it seems displacement is a must,” said Omar, 60, who said he had been forced to move with at least 35 family members. He declined to give his surname for fear of reprisals.

Yamen Hamad has been living in a school in Deir al-Balah, also in central Gaza, since fleeing from the north. He said people newly displaced from Bureij and Nusseirat were setting up tents wherever there was open ground.

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