Reports suggest that intense Israeli strikes on Khan Younis in the south Gaza Strip have resulted in numerous casualties. The area, which is believed to be a hideout for top Hamas commanders, has been a recent focus of Israeli forces. The Israeli military has reportedly found an underground compound in the city where it believes about 20 Israeli hostages were held. As the US, Qatar, and Egypt attempt to mediate, Hamas has demanded that Israel end the war and withdraw its forces before releasing the hostages. However, this demand has been rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli forces have reportedly surrounded a hospital and university where thousands of displaced people are seeking shelter. Ambulances are reportedly trapped and unable to reach the wounded. Overnight, Khan Younis was heavily bombed by Israeli forces, with explosions lighting up the sky and constant gunfire heard.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has expressed deep concern about the safety of staff, patients, and displaced civilians inside the besieged al-Amal Hospital and nearby ambulance center. A PRCS spokesperson stated that anyone who tries to move out or go out in the street is being targeted.
Smoke was also seen rising and gunfire heard near Nasser Hospital, the largest functioning medical facility in Gaza. The hospital has reportedly received 50 dead and over 100 wounded since the night. Gaza’s health ministry reported that dozens were killed or wounded west of Khan Younis on Monday.
The Israeli military has advised civilians to move to a “humanitarian zone” in al-Mawasi for their safety. The UN estimates that 1.7 million people have been displaced by the past 15 weeks of fighting. UN Secretary General António Guterres warned that disease and hunger were deepening among the displaced population.