Area densely populated with 2 million people, including civilians
“Operation to eliminate Hamas leadership in hiding”
Largest air raid on 50 locations since the start of the war
US: “Possibility of large-scale civilian casualties”… Buddhism is also concerned that it will take 10 years to destroy Hamas
Reuters reported that Israel carried out the largest airstrike since the outbreak of war on October 7 in the southern Gaza Strip after a temporary ceasefire was broken, killing at least 240 people. This occurred when Israel took control by concentrating its attacks on the northern part of the Gaza Strip, which had been the stronghold of the Palestinian armed group Hamas, and then turned its guns to the southern part.
Israel cited the fact that the Hamas leadership, which had been staying in the northern part of the Gaza Strip during the temporary ceasefire period from November 24 to December 1, moved to the south as the reason for its attack on the south. However, about 2 million civilians, including 1 million refugees from the north, are concentrated in the area of Khan Yunis, a key city in the southern Gaza Strip. As large-scale civilian casualties are expected, some say the war has entered a new phase.
According to the Times of Israel and other sources, the Israeli military announced on the 2nd that it “attacked more than 400 targets throughout the Gaza Strip (over the course of two days, the 1st and 2nd).” In particular, unlike past airstrikes that were focused on key cities in the northern Gaza Strip, such as Gaza City, this attack also included attacks on 50 targets in the southern region, including Khan Yunis. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “For two days, we attacked areas that had not been attacked since the start of the war. “We will strike wherever necessary,” he emphasized.
An evacuation order was also issued to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip, citing specific locations. On this day, on social media “Southern residents should move to the shelter in Rafah (at the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, bordering Egypt),” he warned. Some refugees staying in Khan Yunis told Reuters, “It was a night of terror.” Local broadcaster Channel 12 reported, “A large-scale ground battle took place in Khan Yunis.”
According to the BBC, Israel believes that Yehya Sinwar, a high-ranking Hamas official who led the war, is hiding in the Khan Yunis underground tunnels with an unspecified number of fighters. Accordingly, they claim that an attack on the south is inevitable to completely eliminate Hamas.
The Israeli military began ground operations in the Gaza Strip on October 27 and virtually took control of the entire north, including Gaza City, the largest city in the north. Al-Shifa Hospital, known to be the location of Hamas’ command center, as well as many of Hamas’ major military facilities were destroyed or searched. However, core leaders such as Shinwar were not captured. Accordingly, Israel’s next strategy will inevitably focus on eliminating the Hamas leadership. Citing Israeli officials, the New York Times (NYT) reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently instructed his aides to “encourage the military to eliminate Sinwar.”
If attacks expand in the southern Gaza Strip, where refugees are concentrated, large-scale civilian casualties are expected. Because of this, anti-Israel public opinion is also increasing. High-ranking U.S. officials who have supported Israel ever since the outbreak of war also sent warning messages one after another.
In a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF) in California on the 2nd, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, “In a fight like this, the center of gravity is on civilians,” and “Driving them into the hands of the enemy is a strategic defeat for the sake of tactical victory.” “It’s about accepting it,” he emphasized. Secretary Austin is a former commander of the U.S. Central Command who led the operation to defeat the Sunni militant group Islamic State (IS), and warned that Israel may win the battle through this operation, but may lose the war.
U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who visited Israel for the fourth time since the outbreak of war on the 30th of last month, also warned, “Israel must act in accordance with international humanitarian law and the laws of war,” and added, “This also applies when confronting the terrorist group (Hamas).” . The BBC commented on this, saying, “The United States has set a clear ‘red line.’”
The 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the 2nd also became a venue for condemnation of Israel. French President Emmanuel Macron, who has supported Israel so far, said at this event, “It will take at least 10 years to completely destroy Hamas,” and pointed out that Israel must clarify its war goals. Iran’s COP28 delegation, which is known to have provided weapons and funds to Hamas, withdrew from the conference venue in protest against Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog’s attendance at the conference.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.