General Jaron Finkelman, commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ southern army, said on Tuesday that Israeli troops were now fighting in the heart of Khan Yunis, Gaza’s second largest city. They are thus expanding their operations in the war against Hamas, writes the website France 24.
“We are in the heart of Jabaliya, in the heart of Shejai, and as of tonight, also in the heart of Khan Younis,” the general said in a statement, referring to Hamas bases near Gaza City in the north of the Strip.
According to The Times of Israel website, the Israeli leadership believes that the leadership of Hamas may be hiding in Khan Yunis. “This is the most intense day of fighting since the ground maneuvers began, in terms of terrorists killed, the number of engagements and the use of fire from the ground and from the air,” added Finkelman.
The army ordered Palestinians hiding in Khan Younis to flee west to the Mediterranean coast or further south to Rafah on the Egyptian border. The expansion of Israel’s offensive deeper into refugee-crowded southern neighborhoods where displaced Gazans have fled has prompted a UN warning that no place in Gaza is safe anymore. According to the UN, the number of displaced people has risen to 1.9 million.