Over 700 killed in last 24 hours as Israel intensifies strikes

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air raids in the past 24 hours in Gaza as the Israeli army ordered more areas in and around the enclave’s second-largest city of Khan Younis to evacuate.

The Director General of the Government Media Office in Gaza told Al Jazeera on Sunday that more than 700 Palestinians have been killed since Israel resumed bombardment after a seven-day truce ended on Friday.

More than 1.5 million people have been displaced, most of them from northern Gaza, since Israel launched a military offensive on October 7 in the wake of a deadly Hamas attack.

Overnight and into Sunday, intense bombing was reported in Khan Younis, Rafah, and some northern parts targeted by Israel’s air and ground attacks.

“Everywhere you turn to, there are children with third-degree burns, shrapnel wounds, brain injuries and broken bones,” James Elder, UNICEF’s global spokesperson, told Al Jazeera from Gaza.

“Mothers crying over children who look like they are hours away from death. It seems like a death zone right now.”

The main hospital in Khan Younis received at least three dead and dozens wounded on Sunday morning from an Israeli air raid that hit a residential building in the eastern part of the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the hospital.

Separately, the bodies of 31 people killed in Israeli bombardment across the central areas of the strip were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza’s central city of Deir el-Balah, said Omar al-Darawi, an administrative employee at the hospital.

In northern Gaza, rescue teams with little equipment scrambled on Sunday to dig through the rubble of buildings in the Jabaliya refugee camp and other neighbourhoods in Gaza City in search of potential survivors and dead bodies.

Israel has said it is working to eliminate the armed Palestinian group Hamas, which launched deadly attacks on southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking more than 240 captives, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel has killed more than 15,200 Palestinians in Gaza attacks since October 7, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Evacuation orders

The Israeli military on Sunday expanded evacuation directives in Khan Younis and the vicinity, urging residents from at least five additional areas to relocate for safety purposes.

Leaflets distributed by the military instructed residents to move south to Rafah, or a coastal area in the southwest, emphasising that Khan Younis was a “dangerous” combat zone.

Rights groups have raised concerns against Israel’s stepped-up attacks in the southern part of the besieged enclave, which was earlier declared a “safe zone”.

Following an Israeli air raid on an eastern residential building, the main hospital in Khan Younis reported at least three deaths and dozens of injuries on Sunday morning, according to an AP journalist.

A significant portion of the 2.3 million inhabitants in the territory now resides in the southern areas due to the war.

Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, a 21-year-old Palestinian was shot dead on Sunday by Israeli forces in a raid in Qalqilya.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Israel arrested at least 60 Palestinians in overnight raids in the occupied territory.

The latest arrests add to more than 3,000 Palestinians arrested in the West Bank since October 7, according to the UN Human Rights Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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