Israeli troops cut off northern Gaza

The Israeli military said its troops have encircled Gaza City, cutting off northern Gaza from the rest of the besieged enclave as forces prepare to enter the city.

The Israeli military called the severing of northern Gaza a “significant stage” of the war with militant group Hamas, nearly one month after the group carried out an assault against Israel that killed more than 1,400 people.

Israel has bombarded Hamas-ruled Gaza in response, vowing to eliminate the U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The violence in Gaza has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, according to The Associated Press, citing the Hamas-ruled health ministry in Gaza.

“Today there is north Gaza and south Gaza,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari told reporters Sunday.

The AP reported strikes are expected within 48 hours, with IDF Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi stressing the troops’ preparation to strike in the north.

“We have a clear goal of restoring a significantly better security situation at the borders, not only in the Gaza Strip… We are ready to strike in the north at any moment,” Halevi said, according to the IDF’s post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Israeli forces are expected to face various challenges fighting in the dense city, including likely house-by-house fighting along with navigating the intricate tunnels operated by Hamas under the city.

More than 1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza were ordered by Israel to move south in recent weeks, though strikes have also targeted that area of the enclave.

The IDF said Sunday it reopened a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians in northern Gaza to move south “for their own safety.”

An estimated 1.5 million people, about 70 percent of Gaza’s population, have fled their homes in the midst of Israel’s bombardment, which has included hundreds of airstrikes, several bombings and a siege of food, water, medicine and fuel, the AP noted

Many have taken shelter in refugee camps, schools-turned-shelters or hospitals, many of which face depleted resources while treating the thousands of Palestinians wounded in the conflict.

Multiple world and humanitarian leaders have called for a pause in fighting to allow for the delivery of aid to civilians and release of the estimated 240 hostages taken by Hamas last month. Israel has mostly rejected these suggestions, allowing small aid convoys to travel into the embattled territory.

Israel has also pushed back against calls for a wider cease-fire from concerned Arab countries, including Jordan and Egypt, as alleged attacks from Iran-backed proxies fuel concerns of an escalation of the conflict.

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