Israel Continues Gaza Bombardments 12/09 07:45
Israeli warplanes struck parts of the Gaza Strip overnight into Saturday in
relentless bombardments, including some of the dwindling slivers of land
Palestinians had been told to evacuate to in the territory's south.
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israeli warplanes struck parts of the Gaza Strip
overnight into Saturday in relentless bombardments, including some of the
dwindling slivers of land Palestinians had been told to evacuate to in the
The latest strikes came a day after the United States vetoed a United
Nations resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza,
despite it being backed by the vast majority of Security Council members and
many other nations. The vote in the 15-member council was 13-1, with the United
"Attacks from air, land and sea are intense, continuous and widespread,"
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said before the vote. Gaza residents
"are being told to move like human pinballs -- ricocheting between ever-smaller
slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival."
Guterres told the council that Gaza was at "a breaking point" with the
humanitarian support system at risk of total collapse, and that he feared "the
consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region."
Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt are effectively sealed, leaving
Palestinians with no option other than to seek refuge within the territory. The
overall Palestinian death toll in Gaza has surpassed 17,400, the majority of
them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the
Hamas-controlled territory, whose counts do not differentiate between civilians
Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian casualties, accusing the
militants of using civilians as human shields, and says it's made considerable
efforts with its evacuation orders to get civilians out of harm's way. It has
said 93 Israeli soldiers have died since the ground offensive began.
On Saturday, the Israeli military said its forces fought and killed Hamas
militants and found weapons inside a school in Shijaiyah in a densely populated
neighborhood of Gaza City. It said soldiers discovered a tunnel shaft in the
same neighborhood where they found an elevator, and in a separate incident,
militants shot at troops from an U.N.-run school in the northern town of Beit
Hanoun. Hamas said Saturday it had continued its rocket fire into Israel.
Residents reported airstrikes and shelling in Gaza's north and south,
including the city of Rafah, which lies near the Egyptian border and where the
Israeli army had ordered civilians to move to.
Two hospitals in central and southern Gaza received the bodies of a total of
133 people from Israeli bombings over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry
Israel has been trying to secure the military's hold on northern Gaza, where
furious fighting has underscored heavy resistance from Hamas. Tens of thousands
of residents are believed to remain despite evacuation orders, six weeks after
troops and tanks rolled in during the war sparked by Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 raid
targeting civilians in Israel.
About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas raid, and
more than 240 taken hostage. A temporary truce saw hostages and Palestinian
prisoners released, but more than 130 hostages are believed to remain in Gaza.
On Saturday, a kibbutz that had come under attack on Oct. 7 announced that
25-year-old hostage Sahar Baruch had died in captivity. His captors said Baruch
was killed during a failed rescue mission by Israeli forces early Friday. The
Israeli military has only confirmed that two soldiers were seriously wounded in
an attempted hostage rescue and that no hostages were freed.
More than 2,200 Palestinians have been killed since the Dec. 1 collapse of
the truce, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to Gaza's
With only a trickle of humanitarian aid getting into just a few parts of the
Gaza Strip, residents were reporting severe food shortages.
"I am very hungry," said Mustafa al-Najjar, sheltering in a U.N.-run school
in the devastated Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. "We are living on
canned food and biscuits and this is not sufficient."
While the adults can cope with the hunger, "it's extremely difficult and
painful when you see your young son or daughter crying because there are hungry
and you are not able to do anything," he said.
Despite growing international pressure, the Biden administration remains
opposed to an open-ended cease-fire, arguing it would enable Hamas to continue
posing a threat to Israel. Officials have expressed misgivings in recent days
about the rising civilian death toll and dire humanitarian crisis, but have not
pushed publicly for Israel to wind down the war, now in its third month.
"We have not given a firm deadline to Israel, not really our role," deputy
national security adviser Jon Finer told a security forum a day before the U.S.
veto in the U.N. Security Council. "That said, we do have influence, even if we
don't have ultimate control over what happens on the ground in Gaza."
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant argued that "a cease-fire is handing a
prize to Hamas, dismissing the hostages held in Gaza, and signalling terror
A delegation of foreign ministers from mainly Arab nations and Turkey was in
Washington to push the U.S. to drop its objections to an immediate cease-fire.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Friday ahead of a meeting with
Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel's bombardment and siege of Gaza
is a war crime that is destabilizing the region.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said the U.S. veto showed Washington's
"The American political system is now helpless on issues related to Israel.
Therefore, Israel acts recklessly on this issue and continues its oppression.,"
Fidan told Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu and broadcaster TRT.
Fidan and the Palestinian, Saudi, Indonesian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Qatari
and Nigerian ministers met with Blinken to press for an end to the fighting,
while the group is to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign
Minister Melanie Joly on Saturday.
As fighting resumed after a brief truce more than a week ago, the U.S. urged
Israel to do more to protect civilians and allow more aid to besieged Gaza. The
appeals came as Israel expanded its blistering air and ground campaign into
southern Gaza, especially Khan Younis, sending tens of thousands more fleeing.
"It was a night of heavy gunfire and shelling as every night," Taha
Abdel-Rahman, a Khan Younis resident, said by phone early Saturday.
Airstrikes were reported overnight in the Nuseirat refugee camp, where
resident Omar Abu Moghazi said a family home was hit, causing casualties.
Israel has designated a narrow patch of barren coastline in the south,
Muwasi, as a safe zone. But Palestinians who have headed there portrayed a grim
picture of desperately overcrowded conditions with scant shelter and poor
"We didn't see anything good here at all. We are living here in a tough
cold. There are no bathrooms. We are sleeping on the sand," said Soad Qarmoot,
who was forced to leave her home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.
"I am a cancer patient," Qarmoot said late Friday as children circled a wood
fire for warmth. "There is no mattress for me to sleep on. I am sleeping on the
sand. It's freezing."
Imad al-Talateeny, a displaced man from Gaza City, said the area lacks basic
services to accommodate the growing number of displaced families.
"I lack everything to feel a human," he said, adding that he had a peaceful,
comfortable life before the war in Gaza City. "Here I'm not safe. Here I live
in a desert. There is no gas, no water. The water that we drink is polluted