Israeli ground forces were confronting Hamas fighters across the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said on Sunday in its clearest indication yet that a planned ground offensive in the enclave’s refugee-crowded south had begun as Israeli bombing killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians. Follow our live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 

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Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in the hospital in Khan Younis, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.
Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in the hospital in Khan Younis, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. © Fatima Shbair, AP

Summary: 

  • Israel said it had expanded its ground operation to all of Gaza on Sunday night.

  • Residents of the southern city of Khan Younis reported hearing the sound of tank fire.

  • Israel forces bombed both the north and south of the Gaza Strip on Sunday for a third day since the end of the truce with Hamas.

  • The United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) said that at least 160 Palestinian fatalities were reported in two incidents in northern Gaza on Saturday: the bombing of a six-storey building in the Jabalia refugee camp, and of an entire block in a Gaza City neighbourhood.

  • More than 15,523 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes in the last two months, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

  • The IDF said it had killed Hamas commander Haitham Khuwajari in an airstrike. 

  • In a new estimate, OCHA said about 1.8 million people – roughly 75 percent of Gaza’s population – is internally displaced, up from an earlier figure of 1.7 million. “However, obtaining an accurate count is challenging,” OCHA said in a report.

  • A World Health Organization (WHO) team visiting Nasser hospital in southern Gaza found it packed with 1,000 patients, three times its capacity, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Sunday on X, formerly Twitter. “Patients were receiving care on the floor, screaming in pain,” he wrote. These conditions are “unimaginable for the provision of health care”.

  • Disease is spreading through overcrowded shelters and makeshift housing in schools, the World Health Organization said Sunday.

Key developments on Sunday, December 2

  • Three commercial ships were hit my missiles in a Houthi attack in the Red Sea on Sunday. A US warship shot down three drones.

  • A US air strike killed five Iraqi militants near the northern city of Kirkuk as they prepared to launch an attack on US forces in the country, three Iraqi security sources said.

  • The UK’s military said it will conduct surveillance flights over Gaza to help locate hostages held by Hamas since its October 7 attack on Israel.

  • More than 100 protesters at the COP28 UN climate summit called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war on Sunday.
  • The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court rounded off a historic first visit to Israel and Ramallah by posting video and written messages on Sunday, saying that a probe by the court into possible crimes by Hamas militants and Israeli forces “is a priority for my office.”

About casualty figures from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry:

Gaza’s health ministry collects data from the enclave’s hospitals and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The health ministry does not report how Palestinians were killed, whether from Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages or errant Palestinian rocket fire. It describes all casualties as victims of “Israeli aggression”. The ministry also does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

Throughout four wars and numerous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, UN agencies have cited the Hamas-run health ministry’s death tolls in regular reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent also use the numbers.

In the aftermath of war, the UN humanitarian office has published final death tolls based on its own research into medical records. The UN’s counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza health ministry’s, with small discrepancies. 

For more on the Gaza health ministry’s tolls, click here.

(FRANCE 24 with AP) 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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