The number of displaced people in Gaza is now larger than the population of Manhattan, and more than four times the population of Tel Aviv. They have all squeezed into an area that is less than one-third of Gaza’s territory, according to the United Nations, and many have recounted deadly strikes in areas they were told would be safe.
The United Nations has opposed the establishment of so-called safe zones in the enclave, on the grounds that no one party to a war can unilaterally declare places completely safe for civilians. Trying to establish such zones in Gaza, U.N. officials said last month, could “create unacceptable harm for civilians, including large-scale loss of life.”
U.N. officials have said that civilians should take shelter in buildings such as schools and hospitals, which are protected under international humanitarian laws, and that Israel should not strike such places.
Israel has accused Hamas of concealing command centers in civilian buildings, including schools and hospitals, and has declared some of them legitimate targets.
A government spokesman, Eylon Levy, said on Thursday that Israeli forces were pressing on with “close-quarter combat” in Khan Younis, the city in southern Gaza where the military believes top Hamas commanders may be hiding.
On Thursday, the Israeli military said that one of at least two soldiers killed in Gaza was the son of Gadi Eisenkot, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet. Master Sgt. Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25, was killed in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, the military said.
Nearly 100 soldiers have been killed in the war, according to the Israeli military. More than 15,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the territory’s health officials. About 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Israel says.
Amid a growing outcry over the worsening conditions for civilians in the enclave, the Israeli government said it would allow “a minimal supplement of fuel” into southern Gaza in order “to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics.” It did not specify how much fuel, or when the supplies would be allowed in.