July 18, 2024

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Israel faces growing US calls for restraint amid renewed Gaza fighting

2 min read

The view from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on Dec. 3, 2023, as smoke billows over the enclave during Israeli bombardment.

Jack Guez | Afp | Getty Images

Israel faced growing U.S. calls to avoid further harm to Palestinian civilians in its fight against Hamas militants in Gaza, as the warring sides on Sunday showed no sign of moving toward reviving their collapsed truce.

As Israeli forces pounded the enclave after the breakdown of a truce, Vice President Kamala Harris said too many innocent Palestinians had been killed in Gaza, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin deemed it a “moral responsibility” for Israel to protect civilians.

The senior U.S. officials’ remarks on Saturday reinforced pressure from Washington for Israel to use more caution as it shifts the focus of its military offensive further south in the besieged Gaza Strip.

With renewed fighting stretching into a third day, residents feared the air and artillery bombardment was just the prelude to an Israeli ground operation in the southern strip that would pen them into a shrinking area and possibly try to push them across into Egypt.

On Sunday morning, the Israeli military’ posted a statement on X ordering Palestinians the Gaza Strip to immediately evacuate half a dozen areas in and around Khan Younis. ]

The military’s Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee instructed them to move to what he described as “well-known IDP (internally displaced person) shelters” west of the city, including south toward Rafah, and included a map highlighting the areas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel was coordinating with the U.S. and international organisations to define “safe areas” for Gaza civilians.

But U.N. officials and people in Gaza say it is difficult to heed Israeli evacuation orders in real time because of patchy internet access and no regular supply of electricity amid Israel’s military offensive.

‘Scale of suffering devastating’

Seven Palestinians were killed…

2023-12-03 03:39:00

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