The Latest | Israel appears set to reinvade a city in Gaza filled with displaced civilians | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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The Latest | Israel appears set to reinvade a city in Gaza filled with displaced civilians

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip flee from parts of Khan Younis following an evacuation order by the Israeli army to leave the eastern part of Gaza Strip's second largest city on Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)
Original Publication Date July 01, 2024 - 12:11 AM

The Israeli army has ordered a mass evacuation of Palestinians from the eastern half of Khan Younis. Monday’s order is a sign that Israeli troops could soon reinvade the southern Gaza city, which is currently filled with displaced civilians.

Israel told people to move to Muwasi, a coastal area designated by the Israeli army as a safe zone and which has transformed into a crowded and unsanitary tent camp. Israeli forces pulled out of Khan Younis earlier this year after a ground offensive left much of the city in ruins, claiming to have destroyed Hamas battalions there. Many of the 1.3 million people who escaped Israel's subsequent offensive in nearby Rafah took shelter in Khan Younis.

Israel says it's in the final stages of the Rafah operation. Last week, the military also ordered Palestinians up north in Gaza City to evacuate from the Shijaiyah neighborhood, where there has since been intense fighting and widespread displacement.

Earlier Monday, Israel freed the director of Gaza's main hospital, Mohammed Abu Selmia. He was released without charge or trial after being detained since November, when Israeli forces raided Shifa Hospital. Fifty-five other Palestinians detained in Gaza were also released.

The doctor said he and other detainees were held under harsh conditions and tortured. Israel denies such allegations.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,700 people in Gaza, according to the territory's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, and people there are now totally dependent on aid. The top United Nations court has concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies.

Currently:

— An ultra-Orthodox protest against order to enlist in Israeli military turns violent in Jerusalem

— An Israeli airstrike on the northern West Bank kills a Palestinian militant and wounds five other people

— Lawsuit accuses Iran, Syria and North Korea of providing support for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel

— The United Nations starts to move tons of aid from the United States-built pier after security fears suspended work there

— The U.S. and Europe warn Lebanon’s Hezbollah to ease strikes on Israel and back off from a wider Mideast war

— Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here’s the latest:

Israeli soldier is killed by roadside explosion in West Bank

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military says a soldier has been killed by a roadside explosion in the northern West Bank.

Israel's army said the explosion took place in Nur Shams — an urban refugee camp near the city of Tulkarem where the military has been operating in recent days.

Earlier Monday, the army announced the death of another soldier killed in fighting in the southern Gaza Strip.

Over 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the war against Hamas erupted on Oct. 7.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian villagers in the West Bank with tear gas and sticks, sending six people to the hospital

JERUSALEM — Israeli settlers violently converged on a small Palestinian village in the southern reaches of the West Bank on Monday, sending six Palestinians to the hospital with wounds from tear gas and sticks, residents and witnesses on the ground told The Associated Press.

It was the latest Israeli assault on the Bedouin village of Umm Al-Khair, which has seen two settler attacks and a major demolition of homes in the last week.

On Monday, residents said settlers from a nearby outpost — known as Roots Farm — shot tear gas at Palestinian villagers and injured one man with a stick. That’s according to local activist Basel Adra, who was present in the village Monday. The leader of the Israeli outpost, Shimon Atiya, fired two live rounds of ammunition in the area, residents said.

“There were so many women on the ground, lying on the earth, struggling to breathe,” said Adra.

Videos posted to social media by residents showed a group of about 40 Israeli border police and soldiers looking on as the events unfolded.

As ambulances tried to evacuate the wounded, Adra said soldiers stopped the vehicles, allowing settlers to peer inside. Soldiers briefly detained one Palestinian man who was in an ambulance before releasing him the same day.

The soldiers then lined up Palestinian women in the village to photograph their faces, videos obtained by the AP showed.

The Israeli military declined to immediately comment on Monday’s settler violence or the Israeli forces’ activity.

Last week, Israeli military bulldozers demolished several homes in the village, leaving nearly a quarter of the 200-person village — including 31 children and a prominent Palestinian artist — without a home.

After the demolitions last week, the military body charged with civilian matters, COGAT, said the demolished structures had been built illegally. Palestinians in the areas have long said it is virtually impossible to get construction permits from Israeli authorities. They say settler violence has only worsened since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Germany's Lufthansa Group suspends some flights to and from Beirut, as Israel-Hezbollah tensions escalate

BERLIN — In response to the escalating conflict between Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Israeli military, the Lufthansa Group is temporarily suspending nighttime flights to and from Beirut, German news agency dpa reported on Monday.

The airline group, which also includes carriers Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines, is suspending night flights to and from Beirut until July 31, it told dpa. Daytime flights to and from Beirut will continue to be offered, it said.

Israel orders Palestinians to flee Khan Younis, signaling return of troops to southern Gaza city

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — The Israeli army has ordered a mass evacuation of Palestinians from the eastern half of Khan Younis.

Monday’s order is a sign that Israeli troops could soon return to the southern city – the second-largest in Gaza.

Israel wrapped up an offensive in Khan Younis earlier this year and withdrew most of its forces. The evacuation order indicates that Hamas has regrouped in the area.

Israel has said it is in the final stages of an offensive in the nearby Gaza city of Rafah.

Netanyahu joins Israeli uproar over release of Gaza hospital director

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for an investigation into the release of a prominent Gaza doctor from Israeli custody Monday.

The decision to release Mohammed Abu Selmia, the director of Shifa Hospital, sparked uproar from across the political spectrum, with government ministers and opposition leaders saying he should have remained behind bars and reiterating Israeli allegations that the hospital served as a base for Hamas.

Abu Selima was released without charge or trial back into Gaza.

Netanyahu said that the decision was made to release Selmia following a petition by rights groups to shut down a shadowy detention facility in Israel’s south which alleged that Palestinians were being abused at the overcrowded facility. The case prompted the government to transfer the bulk of the Palestinian detainees held there to other facilities and to release some, like Selmia.

“The identity of the released prisoners is determined independently by the security officials based on their professional considerations,” Netanyahu wrote, adding that he was calling for an investigation into the matter.

Israeli forces kill a woman and a teenager in the West Bank and wound 4 others, Palestinian officials say

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian health officials say a woman and a teenager were shot and killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said another four people were wounded during Monday’s raid in the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Israeli forces have carried out near-daily arrest raids across the West Bank since Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack ignited the war in Gaza.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says over 550 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since then. Most have been killed during Israeli raids or violent protests.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with Gaza and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state.

Israel has built scores of settlements across the West Bank that are now home to over 500,000 Jewish settlers. The settlers have Israeli citizenship, while the 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank live under seemingly open-ended Israeli military rule.

Israel releases 55 Palestinians it detained from Gaza

CAIRO — A Palestinian health official says Israel has released 55 Palestinians it detained from Gaza, including the director of the territory’s main hospital.

Mohammed Abu Selmia was detained in November when Israeli forces raided Shifa Hospital. The army said Hamas was using the facility for military purposes and uncovered a tunnel within the medical complex. Abu Selmia and other staff denied the allegations.

In justifying its first raid, Israel said that underneath the hospital lay a complex network of tunnels, a central command center for Hamas. Evidence produced from that raid— caches of weapons, a tunnel leading to small, rusty quarters that appeared out of use, and no scores of militants found — fell far short of the claim.

Nahedh Abu Taema, director of the Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, which has also been raided by Israeli forces, says Abu Selmia was among 55 Palestinian detainees from Gaza released Monday. He says all but five were taken to Nasser Hospital for medical checks while the others were taken to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

Israel accuses Hamas and other militant groups of sheltering in hospitals and using them for military purposes. Palestinian health officials say Israeli raids have forced several hospitals to shut down or dramatically reduce services, recklessly endangering civilians. Hospitals can lose their protection under international law if they are used for military purposes.

In video comments aired by Palestinian media following his release, Abu Selmia accused Israeli authorities of mistreating Palestinian detainees, saying they "are subjected to daily physical and psychological humiliation.”

Israeli authorities have denied such allegations.

Some 20 projectiles are fired at Israel from Gaza, the Israeli military says, with no casualties

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says around 20 projectiles were fired from Gaza at communities near the border. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the barrage early Monday.

The military said some were intercepted while others fell inside southern Israel.

It says they were launched from the vicinity of the southern town of Khan Younis, and that Israeli forces are striking the sources of the fire.

Nearly nine months into Israel’s massive offensive launched in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, Palestinian militants have continued to launch sporadic rocket attacks, though the intensity has been greatly reduced.

Fighters have also regrouped in heavily damaged areas of Gaza where Israeli ground troops operated earlier in the war.

In recent days, fighting has erupted in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City in the north, which was largely evacuated and heavily bombed early in the war. Tens of thousands of people have fled the area in recent days, according to the United Nations.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police during a protest against the Supreme Court's order to enlist

JERUSALEM — Thousands of Jewish ultra-Orthodox men clashed with Israeli police in central Jerusalem on Sunday during a protest against a Supreme Court order for them to begin enlisting for military service.

The landmark decision on June 25 ordering the government to begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men could lead to the collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition as Israel wages war in Gaza.

Tens of thousands of men rallied in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood to protest the order. But after nightfall, the crowd made its way toward central Jerusalem and turned violent with protesters throwing rocks and police using skunk-scented water cannons to disperse the crowd. The demonstration was still not under control late Sunday.

Military service is compulsory for most Israelis, but politically powerful ultra-Orthodox parties have won exemptions for their followers to skip military service and instead study in religious seminaries. The long-standing arrangement has bred resentment among the broader public, a sentiment that has grown stronger during Israel's war against Hamas. Over 600 soldiers have been killed in fighting, and tens of thousands of reservists have been activated, upending careers, businesses and lives.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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