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Israel-Hamas war live: hundreds of Palestinians killed as Israel expands ground offensive ‘in all of Gaza Strip’

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Israel expands ground operations to ‘all of Gaza Strip’

Dan Sabbagh

Israel continued with its intense bombing campaign across the north and south of Gaza for a third day since the end of the truce with Hamas, killing hundreds of Palestinians in a 24-hour period, according to local officials.

On Sunday night, the Israeli military also said it has expanded its ground operation to all of Gaza. “The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] continues to extend its ground operation against Hamas centres in all of the Gaza Strip,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv. “The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them.”

The Jabaliya refugee camp in the north was among the targets. Heavy bombing was also reported in the southern city of Khan Younis, increasingly the focus of Israeli attacks, while its military demanded further evacuation of civilians from areas of the city, telling them to head south to Rafah or to the west.

A Palestinian woman walks among the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis.
A Palestinian woman walks among the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

On Sunday night there were reports of clashes between Hamas and Israeli troops a mile from the city.

Gaza residents had said earlier on Sunday they feared an Israeli ground offensive on the southern areas was imminent. Tanks had cut off the road between Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip into three.

Ismael al-Thawabteh, the director general of the government media office in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that more than 700 Palestinians had been killed in a 24-hour period to noon.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said later that 15,523 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the war, including 316 dead and 664 wounded “in the past hours”. Seventy per cent of the dead were women and children, it said.

Read our full report:

Key events

Israel claims to have struck 200 ‘terror targets’ within Gaza Strip

Israel’s military has issued a situational update, in which it claims that “ground troops are continuing to operate in the Gaza Strip in parallel to Israeli air force strikes on approximately 200 Hamas terror targets.”

It writes:

IDF troops struck terror infrastructure located inside a school in Beit Hanoun, from which an attack on the troops was carried out. In the compound were two tunnel shafts, including a booby-trapped one, explosives, and additional weapons.

In addition, an IDF aircraft struck vehicles containing missiles, mortar shells, and weapons, thwarting an imminent attack against IDF soldiers. An additional IDF aircraft struck military infrastructure designated for ambushing the troops with anti-tank missiles.

IDF troops directed an aircraft to strike a cell of terrorists. Following this, a weapons storage facility from which the terrorists exited was struck as well.

Furthermore, overnight the Israeli Navy struck a number of Hamas terror targets, assisting with the reinforcement of ground troops. The Hamas terror targets included observation posts belonging to the Hamas naval forces and terrorist infrastructure at the Gaza harbor. The forces also struck with precise munitions Hamas military compounds.

The claims have not been independently verified.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has issued casualty figures claiming that at least 15,523 Palestinians, including 6,600 children have been killed by Israeli military action since 7 October, with an additional 41,316 injured. It says that at least 6,800 people are missing.

Israel launched its military campaign against Hamas inside the densly populated Gaza Strip after the 7 October surprise Hamas attack inside Israel which killed about 1,200 people and injured at least 5,600 people.

It has not been possible for journalists to independently verify casualty counts being issued during the conflict.

Hani Mahmoud has been reporting from Khan Younis in southern Gaza for Al Jazeera. In his latest dispatch, he describes last night as “a very deadly and bloody night for the Palestinians.”

He reports that at least 35 people have been killed and that “the worst of the attacks happened here in central Khan Younis.”

Reporting that a commercial centre was hit, he said:

The centre is located in an area that is supposed to be safe and where hundreds of people have sought refuge in the last two days since the end of the ceasefire. The centre was completely destroyed, burned beyond recognition.

In the eastern side of Khan Younis, the Israeli military has started to advance with tanks and armoured vehicles. A family stranded there was trying to evacuate when their three-story building was shelled by tanks and completely destroyed.

Israel has been declaring some of the missing as dead in captivity, a measure designed to grant anxious relatives some closure, Reuters reports. The news agency writes:

A three-person medical committee has been poring over videos from the 7 October rampage by Hamas-led Palestinian gunmen in southern Israel for signs of lethal injuries among those abducted, and cross-referencing with the testimony of hostages freed during a week-long Gaza truce that ended on Friday.

That can suffice to determine that a hostage has died, even if no doctor has formally pronounced this over his or her body, said Hagar Mizrahi, a Health Ministry official who heads the panel created in response to a crisis now in its third month.

“Designation of death is never an easy matter, and certainly not in the situation embroiling us,” she told Israel’s Kan radio. Her committee, she said, addresses “the desire of the families of loved ones abducted to Gaza to know as much as possible”.

Of some 240 people kidnapped, 108 were freed by Hamas in return for the release by Israel of scores of Palestinian detainees as well as boosted humanitarian aid shipments to Gaza.

Since the truce, Israeli authorities have declared seven civilians and an army colonel as dead in captivity. Israel says 137 hostages remain in Gaza, their condition not always known.

This has not been confirmed by Hamas. It has previously said dozens of hostages were killed in Israeli airstrikes, has threatened to execute hostages itself and suggested that some hostages were in the hands of other armed Palestinian factions.

Hostages have been kept incommunicado despite Israel’s calls on the Red Cross to arrange visits and verify their wellbeing.

Mizrahi said she and her fellow panelists – a forensic pathologist and a physical trauma clinician – have been watching clips shot by the Hamas attackers themselves, cellphone video by Palestinian spectators and CCTV footage of the hostage-taking “again and again, frame by frame”.

That has allowed them to map out life-threatening wounds and spot any cessation of breathing or other essential reflexes.

Additional considerations have been hostages’ rough handling by captors, the reduced chances of them getting adequate medical care in Gaza and accounts of deaths by former fellow hostages.

Six Thai hostages kidnapped and held for weeks in the Gaza Strip by Hamas will arrive back in the kingdom on Monday, officials have said according to Agence France-Presse. The news agency reports:

Tens of thousands of Thais were working in Israel, mostly in the agricultural sector, when Palestinian militants poured over the border on 7 October, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping roughly 240, according to Israeli authorities.

At least 32 Thais were abducted by Hamas, with Bangkok’s foreign ministry and Thai Muslim groups working to negotiate their release.

On Monday, at about 2pm (0700 GMT), six are expected to land at the capital’s Suvarnabhumi airport following weeks in captivity.

Since their release, the group have been recuperating at a hospital in Israel as authorities made preparations to fly them home.

It follows the return of 17 citizens from Thailand at the end of November, during a temporary truce in which scores of people were released before it expired on 1 December.

A further nine Thais are still among the hostages taken by Palestinian militants during October’s cross-border raid into Israel, according to Bangkok’s foreign ministry.

Thirty-nine Thais have been killed and 19 wounded in the war, with the kingdom evacuating more than 8,500 of its people, according to Thailand’s foreign ministry.

Twenty-six-year-od Natthaporn Onkaew (right) is welcomed back to Thailand on Friday by family and friends
Twenty-six-year-od Natthaporn Onkaew (right) is welcomed back to Thailand on Friday by family and friends. He was held in Gaza by Hamas for almost two months after being kidnapped on 7 October. Photograph: Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters

Unicef spokesperson James Elder, in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, has described a “night of utterly relentless bombardments” in a voice note posted to X.

“I cannot stop thinking about the 1.8 million people here in the south,” he said. “I don’t think there was more than a five- or 10-minute period throughout the course of the night, and I really didn’t sleep, where something wasn’t flying overhead or the sky being lit up”.

Despite what has been assured, attacks in the south of #Gaza are every bit as vicious as what the north endured. Somehow, it’s getting worse for children and mothers.
Your voice matters. We must believe we can be a part of Stopping The War on Children … Silence is complicity pic.twitter.com/1kYV18YMT3

— James Elder (@1james_elder) December 4, 2023

A 21-year-old Israeli believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas and taken to Gaza on 7 October is dead, Israeli media have reported.

Yonatan Samarno was at the Nova music festival that was attacked in Hamas’s assault and was believed to have been shot, the Jerusalem Post reported. However, though the bodies of two of his friends were found afterwards, his was not with them.

Haaretz reported that he had fled to the nearby kibbutz Be’eri where he was shot and kidnapped.

It was not clear from either report whether his body had since been identified in Israel – many people were not immediately found or identified after the 7 October attack due to severe burns among other things – or whether he had died in Gaza while being held hostage.

A volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent has been killed in an Israeli strike on the al-Faluja neighbourhood north-east of Gaza City, the organisation has said on X.

Osama Tayeh was killed at his home, the Red Crescent said, while employee Muhammad Abu Rukba was injured in the attack.

🚨 PRCS volunteer Osama Tayeh was martyred, and employee Muhammad Abu Rukba was injured in the bombing of Al-Faluga at 5:30 AM while at the home of the late Osama Tayeh.#Gaza #IHl#HumanRights

— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) December 4, 2023

Almost 400,000 Palestinians have lost jobs due to war, ILF says

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank have lost their jobs or had their salaries frozen after the Israeli authorities cancelled their work permits and imposed severe restrictions on crossings after the 7 October attacks.

Approximately 182,000 Gaza residents who work in Israel and the settlements had their employment terminated, initial estimates by the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggest, while about 24% of employment in the West Bank has also been lost – equivalent to 208,000 jobs – as a result of the Israel-Hamas war.

Palestinian labourers, working in Israel, make their way to their workplaces, through the main Israeli terminal in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, in July 2016.
Palestinian labourers, working in Israel, make their way to their workplaces, through the main Israeli terminal in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, in July 2016. Photograph: Xinhua/Alamy

According to the ILO, a further 160,000 workers from the West Bank have either lost their jobs in Israel and the settlements, at least temporarily, or are at risk of losing them “as a result of restrictions imposed on Palestinians’ access to the Israeli labour market and the closures of crossings from the West Bank into Israel and the settlements”.

Hani Mousa, an assistant political science professor at Birzeit University in the West Bank, said this is part of “Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians, which also extended to employees in the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose salaries were not paid because Israel did not transfer the money needed”.

Under interim peace accords, the Israeli finance minister has the final say in monthly money transfers made to the PA from taxes it collects on Palestinians’ behalf. The PA is then typically able to pay its employees, which it was not able to do in October, as Israel refused to make the full transfers.

At least 60 Palestinians were arrested in the occupied West Bank overnight, Al Jazeera reported, with Israeli forces carrying out raids in the cities of Qalqilya, Jericho, Jenin and Tulkarem.

At least 30 armoured vehicles were deployed in Jenin following a dawn raid, the broadcaster reported. Citing the Palestinian news agency Wafa, it said Israeli snipers were positioned on the roofs of homes and other buildings and a reconaissance plane flew overhead.

It also posted footage on Twitter of what it said was smoke rising in Jenin after Israeli troops were targeted with “explosive devices”.

Tensions have been escalating in the West Bank, with more than 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers since Hamas’ deadly assault on Israel on 7 October.

In one of the latest incidents, one Palestinian man was killed late Saturday after settlers attack two Palestinian villages.

Dutch court to hear legal challenge over export of fighter jet parts to Israel

The Netherlands faces a legal challenge on Monday over accusations that its role in the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel makes it complicit in alleged war crimes in Gaza, Reuters reports. The news agency writes:

Three human rights organisations, including the Dutch arm of Oxfam, have brought the case at the district court in The Hague, stating the export of the fighter plane parts enables Israel to bomb the Gaza strip.

“Israel disregards the fundamental principles of the laws of war, such as distinguishing between civilian and military targets and the principle of proportionality,” in the bombing of the Gaza strip, the organisations said in their court filings.

Israel denies having carried out war crimes, saying its forces abide by international law while fighting Palestinian militants who operate in densely populated civilian areas.

The Netherlands is home to a regional warehouse which stores US-owned F-35 parts, which can be sent on to other F-35 partner countries such as Israel.

Several weeks after the 7 October Hamas attacks, the Dutch government allowed a shipment of reserve parts for Israeli F-35s, government documents show.

The Dutch defence ministry, which oversees the exports, would not comment on the court case, but in a letter to parliament last week said that, based on the current information, “it cannot be established that the F-35s are involved in grave violations of the humanitarian laws of war”.

More than 15,400 inhabitants of the Gaza strip have been killed as of Sunday, according to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, in nearly two months of warfare that broke out after the Hamas cross-border raid on southern Israel in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

The court case will start at 10 am CET (0900 GMT) and will hear the claimants’ case and a response by lawyers for the Dutch state. A ruling is expected in two weeks.

Khan Younis becomes focus of intense bombardments

Israel has continued to bombard Gaza overnight, with one target of the strikes reportedly in Khan Younis in the south, where many Palestinians fled in the early weeks of the war on Israel’s orders.

Al Jazeera reported an “intense bombardment” of the east of the city in the early hours of Monday. Israeli raids and continuous artillery fire were also reported in the north of the territory, in the Gaza City neighbourhoods of al-Shujaiya and al-Tuffah.

Israel believes Hamas’ leadership is based in Khan Younis and has ordered people in and around certain areas of the city to evacuate.

Residents said the military dropped leaflets calling Khan Younis “a dangerous combat zone” and ordering them to move to the border city of Rafah or a coastal area in the southwest.

A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli strike at the hospital in Khan Younis on Sunday.
A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli strike at the hospital in Khan Younis on Sunday. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/AP

Halima Abdel-Rahman, a widow and mother of four, told the Associated Press she had stopped heeding such orders. She fled her home in October to an area outside Khan Younis, where she is staying with relatives.

“The occupation tells you to go to this area, then they bomb it,” she said by phone. “The reality is that no place is safe in Gaza. They kill people in the north. They kill people in the south.”

In videos posted on X, Unicef spokesman James Elder reported “another intense evening of attacks here in Khan Younis” late Sunday. It was the “worst bombardment of the war right now in southern Gaza”, he said.

“I feel like I am running out of ways to describe the horrors hitting children here,” he said. “I feel like I’m almost failing in my ability to convey the endless killing of children here”.

Eva Corlett

Multiple streets in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, were cordoned off on Monday afternoon, following the discovery of two suspicious packages outside the Israeli and US embassies.

The police were notified of the packages just before 2pm. Wide cordons were erected around the embassies and surrounding central Wellington streets, while five nearby schools were placed in lockdown as a precaution.

The defence force explosive ordinance disposal team confirmed there was no risk to public safety just after 4pm and the cordons were removed.

The police have yet to confirm what the packages contained.

The Israeli Embassy declined to comment on security matters. The US embassy has been contacted for comment.

Three Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza on Sunday, the Haaretz newspaper reported citing the Israeli military (IDF).

The IDF named the soldiers as Sgt Maj (Res) Neriya Shaer, 36, from Yavne, Sgt 1st Class (res) Ben Zussman, 22, from Jerusalem, and Sgt Binyamin Yehoshua Needham, 19, from Zichron Ya’akov.

US vice president Kamala Harris reiterated US concerns that extremist settler violence in the West Bank could escalate tensions further in a phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, the White House has said in a statement.

While emphasising “strong US support” for Israel’s right to self-defence, “the Vice President reiterated the importance of planning for the day after the fighting ends in Gaza, and she underscored our commitment to a two-state solution,” the statement said.

US vice president Kamala Harris.
US vice president Kamala Harris. Photograph: Ali Haider/EPA

Harris also spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, telling him that “the Palestinian people must have a clear political horizon” and reiterating “ US support for a unified West Bank and Gaza under a revitalized Palestinian Authority.”

The Palestinian Authority, which was booted out of Gaza by Hamas in 2006, has been touted by the west as the solution to a political vacuum in the territory after the war.

However many doubt its ability to govern Gaza due to its unpopularity among Palestinians and reputation for corruption. To read more about that, check out this analysis from our diplomatic correspondent Patrick Wintour.

Israel expands ground operations to ‘all of Gaza Strip’

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

Israel continued with its intense bombing campaign across the north and south of Gaza for a third day since the end of the truce with Hamas, killing hundreds of Palestinians in a 24-hour period, according to local officials.

On Sunday night, the Israeli military also said it has expanded its ground operation to all of Gaza. “The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] continues to extend its ground operation against Hamas centres in all of the Gaza Strip,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv. “The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them.”

The Jabaliya refugee camp in the north was among the targets. Heavy bombing was also reported in the southern city of Khan Younis, increasingly the focus of Israeli attacks, while its military demanded further evacuation of civilians from areas of the city, telling them to head south to Rafah or to the west.

A Palestinian woman walks among the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis.
A Palestinian woman walks among the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

On Sunday night there were reports of clashes between Hamas and Israeli troops a mile from the city.

Gaza residents had said earlier on Sunday they feared an Israeli ground offensive on the southern areas was imminent. Tanks had cut off the road between Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip into three.

Ismael al-Thawabteh, the director general of the government media office in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that more than 700 Palestinians had been killed in a 24-hour period to noon.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said later that 15,523 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the war, including 316 dead and 664 wounded “in the past hours”. Seventy per cent of the dead were women and children, it said.

Read our full report:

Opening summary

The Israeli military has said it is extending its ground operation against Hamas “in all of the Gaza Strip,” in the clearest indication yet that the ground offensive in the south has begun.

“The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv.

Hamas said its fighters clashed with Israeli troops about 2km from the southern city of Khan Younis, where many people had fled earlier in the conflict on Israeli orders.

Israel has now ordered civilians to evacuate some areas in and near the city and Palestinians said on Sunday they could hear tank fire and feared a new ground offensive was building.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said 316 people had been killed between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon while 664 were wounded. In total 15,523 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October, with many more thought to be under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Other key developments:

  • The Jabalia refugee camp in the north of Gaza was among the sites reported hit from the air as were the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah in the south of Gaza. Israeli government spokesperson, Eylon Levy, said the military had struck more than 400 targets over the weekend “including extensive aerial attacks in the Khan Younis area” and had also killed Hamas militants and destroyed their infrastructure in Beit Lahiya in the north.

  • The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said that about 1.8 million people – roughly 75% of Gaza’s population – are internally displaced, up from a previous figure of 1.7 million. “However, obtaining an accurate count is challenging,” it said.

  • Hospitals in southern Gaza overflowed with dead and wounded, amid what Uncief spokesperson James Elder said was “the worst worst bombardment of the war right now in south Gaza” on Sunday evening. “I feel like I’m almost failing in my ability to convey the endless killing of children here,” Elder said in a video from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.

Palestinians mourn relatives killed in Israeli strikes at the hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza on Sunday.
Palestinians mourn relatives killed in Israeli strikes at the hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza on Sunday. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/AP
  • Qatar is demanding an “immediate, comprehensive and impartial international investigation” into what its prime minister called Israeli crimes in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also said Qatar would continue its efforts towards facilitating another truce and reaching a permanent ceasefire in the besieged enclave, Al Jazeera added.

  • Israel’s military (UDF) claimed to have found about 800 shafts leading to Hamas tunnels and bunkers since the IDF began its Gaza ground operation on 27 October. It said it had destroyed more than half of them.

  • The IDF also said it had killed Hamas commander Haitham Khuwajari in an airstrike. It said Khuwajari, the leader of the Shati battalion, was responsible for “numerous acts of terror” against Israel and under his command “Hamas terrorists carried out raids into Israeli territory on October 7th”.

  • The Israeli army reported 17 rocket salvos from Gaza into Israel on Sunday, adding that most were intercepted and there was only slight material damage. Israel said two of its soldiers had died in combat, the first since the week-long truce expired on Friday.

  • The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) called on Israel to respect the international rules of war and said he was accelerating his investigation into violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. In a video address following a visit to Israel and Palestine, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan added, “In Gaza, there is no justification for doctors to perform operations without light, for children to be operated upon without anaesthetics. Imagine the pain … I was crystal clear, that this is the time to comply with the law. If Israel doesn’t comply now, they shouldn’t complain later.”

  • Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank late on Saturday, killing one man and torching a car, Palestinian authorities said. The Palestinian ambulance service said a 38-year-old man in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, in the northern West Bank, was shot in the chest and died as residents confronted settlers and Israeli soldiers.

  • Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said it had struck Israeli positions near the Lebanon-Israel border. Eight soldiers and three civilians were wounded by Hezbollah fire in the area of Beit Hillel, Israeli army radio reported. The IDF said its artillery struck sources of fire from Lebanon and its fighter jets struck other Hezbollah targets.

  • A US air strike killed five Iraqi militants near the northern city of Kirkuk as they prepared to launch explosive projectiles at US forces in the country, three Iraqi security sources told Reuters, identifying them as members of an Iran-backed militia. A US military official confirmed a “self-defense strike on an imminent threat” that targeted a drone staging site near Kirkuk on Sunday afternoon.

  • Three commercial vessels came under attack in international waters in the southern Red Sea, the US military said Sunday, as Yemen’s Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area. The USS Carney, an American destroyer, responded to distress calls and provided assistance following missile and drone launches from Houthi-controlled territory, according to US Central Command.

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