Palestinians hit by heaviest bombardments as war enters ‘second stage’


Gaza’s Health Ministry says the death toll among Palestinians in the Hamas-Israel conflict has crossed 8,000 – most of them women and minors – as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a “second stage” in the war after tanks and infantry pushed into Gaza over the weekend.

The weekend’s bombardment – described by Gaza residents as the most intense of the three-week war – knocked out communications in Gaza late on Friday, cutting off most of its 2.3 million people from contact with the world. Communications were restored to parts of Gaza early on Sunday.

Rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had warned that the lack of communications in the enclave was hampering efforts to document war crimes and other abuses.

Israel imposed a total siege – no food, water or electricity – on the Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million people in the wake of the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7. Israel has allowed limited supplies of basic necessities and medicines to reach Gaza. Efforts are under way to get more food, water, fuel and medicine in the enclave, which has been under intense bombardment by Israeli forces.

“The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during a visit to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.

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