Israel’s troops bombarded the Gaza Strip overnight after a warning that it would intensify its attacks in preparation for the expected ground attack in the area.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas said the bombing killed 80 people and destroyed more than 30 homes.
A military spokesman for Israel warned on Saturday that they will “increase the bombardment to reduce the danger (to their troops)” when they invade Gaza on foot.
“We are going to increase the attacks and that is why I appealed to the residents of Gaza to flee southwards for their safety.”
Israel has told more than a million residents of northern Gaza to flee, but there are apparently hundreds of thousands of civilians who do not want or cannot leave the area.
Hamas invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and, according to Israel, shot, maimed or set fire to at least 1,400 of its citizens.
An elderly resident of a village where about 10% of the population was killed by Hamas told AFP that “whole families were shot or set on fire”.
Authorities say it was the worst attack on civilians in Israel’s history and coincided with the end of the religious day of Sukkot.
Israel’s response to this attack claimed the lives of more than 4,300 of its citizens, according to Palestine, and left parts of the densely populated city in ruins.
According to the United Nations (UN), more than 40% of Gaza’s housing has been damaged or completely destroyed.
The delivery of food, water and fuel to Gaza also dried up, but after negotiations and pressure from the US, food, water and medicine were taken from Egypt to Gaza. No fuel was transported.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Israel’s troops surrounded the strip, apparently in preparation for the ground attack.
Israel said its strikes had already claimed the lives of several Hamas leaders and military commanders.
Attacks circle out
The conflict has sparked new violence in the West Bank, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids and settler attacks.
Israel’s army said on Sunday that they had killed “terrorist operatives” in an airstrike on a mosque in Jenin.
Palestine’s health ministry said two men were killed in the attack.
A back-and-forth shooting also broke out over Israel’s border with Lebanon. However, Israel’s army warned the militant group and Hamas ally Hezbollah not to drag Lebanon into a war.
“Hezbollah is playing a very, very dangerous game. They escalate the situation. We’re seeing more and more attacks every day,” said Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus.
Western leaders warned Hezbollah not to get involved, but the group said it was ready to step up its involvement.
“If something comes up that requires greater intervention by us, we will do it,” said Hezbollah’s Naim Qassem.
Israel evacuated dozens of northern communities, and nearly 4,000 people in Lebanon living in border areas fled to the southern city of Tyre.