Israel-Gaza conflict: As the conflict between Israel and Hamas persists, Israel reports the loss of at least 81 soldiers and accuses the terrorist group of operating in residential areas, resulting in civilian casualties. Amid the ongoing war, Israel intensified its strikes in the southern Gaza City of Khan Younis and targeted Hezbollah sites in Lebanon following cross-border attacks by the group.
The prolonged conflict, spanning almost two months and resuming after a seven-day pause, has led to a significant toll on Palestinians, with thousands killed and the displacement of over three-fourths of Gaza's 2.3 million residents. The Health Ministry in Gaza reported a death toll exceeding 15,500 and more than 41,000 wounded since October 7.
Israeli forces continued their air and ground bombardment in the southern Gaza Strip, resulting in numerous Palestinian casualties. The intense airstrikes included areas designated as shelters by Israel, as reported by residents and journalists on the ground. A 'near-total internet blackout' in Gaza was confirmed by NetBlocks during the strikes.
Despite repeated calls from the United States and the United Nations to protect civilians, Israel escalated its offensive. The U.S. urged Israel to avoid a civilian toll similar to previous operations in the north. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Israel to prevent further worsening of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and spare civilians from additional suffering.
In an effort to disrupt Hamas tunnels under the Gaza Strip, Israel is considering flooding them using a sophisticated system of pumps assembled for this purpose. The action involves the deployment of at least five pumps capable of moving thousands of cubic meters of water per hour, potentially flooding the tunnels within weeks.
In Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces struck several Hezbollah sites in response to cross-border attacks. The Israeli military targeted launch sites, terror infrastructure, and a Hezbollah military structure. A projectile launched at the border town of Zarit prompted Israeli forces to shell the source of the fire.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would face trial for alleged war crimes, likening him to former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Erdogan, a vocal critic of Israel's actions, referred to Netanyahu as the "butcher of Gaza" at an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Istanbul.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) faced challenges as it had to relocate supplies from a medical warehouse in southern Gaza due to warnings from the Israeli military about potential ground operations. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on Israel to withdraw the order and ensure the protection of civilians and essential infrastructure. Amid the dire situation in Gaza, UN chief for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths expressed concern, stating that every escalation brings a new level of devastation. He emphasised the impact on civilians who face difficult choices in the midst of the conflict.
The United States stated it was premature to assess whether Israel was adequately protecting civilians in Gaza but acknowledged some improvements. U.S. officials urged Israel not to strike identified safe zones and minimise civilian casualties, particularly in southern Gaza. The conflict in Gaza continues to unfold, with ongoing efforts and diplomatic appeals to mitigate the impact on civilians and seek a resolution to the protracted crisis.