Israeli Troops Surround Gaza City, Cutting Off Northern Territory
Israeli forces have surrounded Gaza City and severed its northern territory, intensifying the month-long conflict with militants and leading to an increase in casualties on both sides.
Israeli troops made their move on November 6, cutting off the northern part of Gaza as they prepared to enter Gaza City. Militants, who have been preparing for this scenario for years, are expected to engage in street-by-street battles using a vast network of tunnels. The conflict has already claimed over 9,700 Palestinian lives, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.
Since the start of the conflict, approximately 70% of Gaza’s population, around 1.5 million Palestinians, have been displaced. Essential supplies like food, medicine, fuel, and water are running dangerously low. UN-run schools-turned-shelters are overwhelmed, forcing many to sleep on the streets.
Despite growing concerns from Arab countries, including Jordan and Egypt, who made peace with Israel in the past, Israel has dismissed calls for a broader ceasefire. This has led to an escalating crisis in the region.
In another disturbing development, a Palestinian man stabbed and wounded two members of Israel’s paramilitary Border Police in East Jerusalem before being shot dead. Israel captured East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians aim to claim these territories for a future state, but Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem remains a contentious issue.
In a rare humanitarian gesture amid the turmoil, a Jordanian military cargo plane conducted an airdrop of medical supplies to a field hospital in northern Gaza, potentially providing another lifeline for aid. This marked the first such airdrop during the conflict, in addition to aid shipments through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.
The situation remains dire in northern Gaza, with over 800,000 people obeying Israeli military orders to flee to the south, despite ongoing airstrikes in the area. Central and southern Gaza, previously considered safer zones, have also experienced strikes, resulting in at least 53 deaths on Sunday.
The majority of Gaza’s population are descendants of Palestinian refugees who were displaced during the 1948 war. This history, referred to as the Nakba, remains a source of fear as hundreds of thousands face displacement in the current conflict.
The Israeli military announced that they had effectively severed northern Gaza from the south, marking a “significant stage” in the war. However, they maintained a one-way corridor for residents to flee to the south.
The conflict has taken a toll on both sides, with 30 Israeli troops killed since the ground offensive began over a week ago. Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets into Israel, causing disruptions in daily life. Tens of thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from border areas near Gaza and Lebanon due to the ongoing security threats.
On 6th Nov, the Israeli military reported conducting airstrikes on 450 targets and taking control of a Hamas compound. They also claimed to have killed a senior Hamas militant responsible for a 1993 shooting attack on Israeli soldiers.
Northern Gaza is grappling with a severe water shortage due to the lack of fuel for municipal wells and the shutdown of the main water line by Israel. Several water facilities across Gaza have sustained significant damage, raising the risk of sewage flooding.
While some aid has been allowed into Gaza from Egypt, it remains insufficient to address the growing humanitarian needs of the territory’s 2.3 million Palestinians.
This ongoing conflict has triggered wider tensions, including clashes between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group. Recent exchanges of fire along the border resulted in civilian casualties in both countries, highlighting the regional impact of the crisis.