After one month of conflict in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) surrounded the region and effectively divided the besieged coastal strip into two parts. Furthermore, Gaza experienced its third total communications outage since the commencement of the conflict on Monday. Despite international appeals and protests, Israel has continued its airstrikes on Gaza, claiming that it is targeting Hamas and accusing the group of using civilians as human shields. Critics argue that Israel’s strikes are often disproportionate, given the high number of civilian casualties. According to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, over 9,700 Palestinians have been killed in nearly a month of conflict in Gaza, with more than 4,000 of them being children and minors.
This death toll is expected to rise as Israeli troops advance into densely populated urban areas. The Israeli Army announced on Sunday that “significant strikes” have been carried out, and the Gaza Strip has been effectively divided in two. An Israeli Army spokesperson stated that troops have reached the coastline and established control over it. Hamas claimed that the Israeli military conducted “intense bombings” on Sunday evening around several hospitals in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Particularly heavy strikes were reported in the vicinity of Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in the Palestinian territory. These bombings followed the Israeli military’s renewed accusations that Hamas was using hospitals in its military campaign against Israel.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken extended his diplomatic efforts concerning the Israel-Hamas conflict to the occupied West Bank on Sunday, assuring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the Biden administration was intensifying its efforts to alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s civilian population. Later, President Joe Biden’s chief diplomat traveled to Baghdad for discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, as American forces in the region face a surge of attacks by Iranian-allied militias in Iraq and other areas. Jordan’s Air Force personnel conducted an airdrop of urgent medical aid to the Jordanian field hospital in Gaza early on Monday. Last week, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel and instructed the Israeli ambassador to stay away in protest against the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, citing the killing of innocent people and the humanitarian crisis caused by the attacks.
CIA Director William J. Burns arrived in Israel on Sunday for discussions with leaders and intelligence officials, marking the first stop on a multi-country trip in the region, as reported by the New York Times and confirmed by US officials. This visit comes as the US is urging Israel to consider temporary ceasefires to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel will not agree to a ceasefire until Hamas releases hostages it is holding. He was quoted as saying, “Remove the word ‘ceasefire’ from your lexicon. We will continue until we defeat them; we have no other option,” according to a statement from his office. On October 7, Hamas seized more than 200 hostages in attacks, and their family members held a rally in front of the Kirya, the government’s military headquarters, in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, calling for the government to take more action to secure the hostages’ release.
In a separate incident, an Israeli airstrike on a car in southern Lebanon resulted in the deaths of three children and their grandmother on Sunday, according to Lebanese authorities. The Israeli army stated that an attack by Hezbollah from Lebanon had killed an Israeli citizen in northern Israel in response to the airstrike. Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese group, claimed responsibility for its retaliatory action, during which three girls aged between 10 and 14 were killed.