The Israeli army says it killed a key Hamas commander, Ibrahim Biari, and several other fighters in the attack on Jabalia. According to a spokesperson, many other buildings also collapsed “because there was a very extensive infrastructure there.”
The Palestinian Interior Ministry says the “complete destruction” of the camp left some 400 dead. The director of the hospital in Jabalia mentions at least fifty deaths, but believes that not all victims have been brought in yet.
An Israeli army spokesman insisted on Tuesday that Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields. Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari is “not only behind the massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7, but also behind the massacres leading to the collapse of the Gaza Strip on its own residents,” Daniel Hagari said at a press conference. Hagari warned that the military operation will continue “at full strength” and again called on civilians to move south, but airstrikes also continue unabated in South Gaza.
With the heavy bombings, Israel wants to drive back Hamas and sabotage the underground tunnel network of the fighting group. Earlier in the day, the army announced that it had killed Nasim Abu Ajina, a Hamas leader, in an airstrike. He is held responsible by Israel for the attacks on two Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip on October 7, when Hamas carried out its bloody surprise attack.
Houthis claim drone strikes
Another important target of the Israeli bombings are the locations from which Hamas fires rockets towards Israel. According to Israeli media, four people were injured in the city of Ashdod in rocket attacks from Gaza. In the southern seaside resort of Eilat, the air raid siren sounded in the morning and “a hostile aircraft” was sighted. “These drones belonged to the state of Yemen,” the government of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen later announced. It would be the Houthis’ third attack on Israel.
In the meantime, much remains unclear about what exactly is happening on the ground. According to reporters from Al Jazeera, Israeli troops are approaching Gaza City from both the north and the south and the army is trying to block the main roads in the Gaza Strip. Hamas reported on Tuesday that it had targeted Israeli tanks and bulldozers with rockets.
The Israeli army spoke on Tuesday of “heavy fighting deep in the Gaza Strip”, in which dozens of Hamas fighters were said to have been killed. On the Israeli side, two 20-year-old soldiers were killed in the fighting. These are the first Israeli soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7. Two other soldiers were injured.
Slowly more help
Even before the explosions in Jalabia, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported that more than two hundred Palestinians had been killed in the previous 24 hours. This brings the death toll in the Gaza Strip since October 7 to 8,525. The Israeli army’s actions also pose risks to the 240 confirmed hostages, much to the anger of their loved ones. The extensive tunnel network is also likely where a large portion of Israeli civilians and soldiers are being held by Hamas.
Israel says it does not want to hear about a ceasefire because it would only benefit Hamas and sees itself supported in this by the United States. Israel’s most important ally is in favor of ‘humanitarian pauses’, because aid is still entering Gaza too slowly.
On Tuesday, eighty trucks full of humanitarian aid were waiting at the border crossing for the green light, the largest convoy to date. But eighty trucks also make little difference to the millions of people who have been facing serious shortages of water, food and medicine for weeks. The United Nations called on Israel on Monday evening to open a second border crossing to speed up deliveries.