Israel-Hamas war

Israeli forces pressed ahead with their air and ground bombardment of the southern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, even as the United States and the United Nations repeatedly urged them to protect civilians. A UN official warned on Monday that “an even more hellish scenario” looms in Gaza in which humanitarian aid grinds to a halt. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 

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Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip gather at a tent camp, in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023.
Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip gather at a tent camp, in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. © Fatima Shbair, AP

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Summary: 

  • The Israeli army tightened its grip on southern Gaza on Monday, as dozens of tanks entered the outskirts of the city of Khan Younis.
  • Israel ordered Palestinians to leave Khan Younis, indicating they should move towards the Mediterranean coast and towards Rafah, a major town near the Egyptian border.
  • At the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Israel to avoid further action that would make the already dire humanitarian situation in Hamas-run Gaza worse, and to spare civilians from more suffering.
  • “For people ordered to evacuate, there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

  • Islamic Jihad’s armed wing says its fighters engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli soldiers north and east of Khan Younis.

  • The main telecom company in the Gaza Strip said Monday that mobile telephone services and internet connections had been cut across the Palestinian territory.
  • Hamas attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages, according to the Israeli government. Since then, roughly 15,900 people, including about 6,000 children, have been killed in Israel’s ensuing assault on the Gaza Strip, the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry said.

Key developments on Monday, December 4

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday it had been forced to move supplies from a WHO medical warehouse in southern Gaza within a 24-hour period after a warning from the Israeli military that ground operations there would make it inaccessible.
  • Israel denied ordering the evacuation of the warehouse.
  • The White House said Monday that the US may establish a naval task force to escort commercial ships in the Red Sea, a day after three vessels were struck by missiles fired by Iranian-back Houthis in Yemen.

  • Around two civilians have been killed for every dead Hamas fighter in the Gaza Strip, senior Israeli military officials admitted Monday.

  • Hamas rejected on Monday accusations of rape and sexual violence by Palestinian militants during the group’s October 7 attacks on Israel, dismissing them as “unfounded lies”.

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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