Israeli Tanks Enter Deeper into Jabalia Amid Heavy Fire

Israeli tanks, supported by a barrage of heavy fire from both air and ground forces, pressed further into Jabalia today, a city in the northern Gaza Strip housing one of the largest refugee camps, teeming with children and families

by Sededin Dedovic
Israeli Tanks Enter Deeper into Jabalia Amid Heavy Fire
© Amir Levy / Getty Images

Israeli tanks, under protection from heavy fire from air and ground, entered deeper into Jabalia in the northern belt of Gaza on Monday, according to residents and media reports from Gaza, while air strikes targeted Rafah in the south, reported Reuters.

In Jabalia, the tanks attempted to advance towards the camp center, the largest of the eight historic refugee camps in Gaza. Residents said tank shells were falling on the camp center and airstrikes had destroyed many houses.

Israeli forces forced hundreds of Palestinians sheltering in shelters to leave. In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, Israel intensified air and ground bombardment of the eastern parts of the city, resulting in many casualties.

Residents say Israeli tanks are now stationed east of Salahudin Road, which divides the eastern part of the city, and the highway is interrupted by intense fighting. They added that the eastern part of Rafah has become a "ghost town".

The armed wing of Hamas stated that their fighters were engaged in armed clashes with Israeli forces in one of the streets east of Rafah and in the east of Jabalia. In Israel, the army has repeatedly sounded sirens in areas near Gaza, warning of potential Palestinian cross-border rocket and mortar launches.

Late on Saturday, the Israeli military announced that forces operating in Jabalia were preventing Hamas, which rules Gaza, from re-establishing its military capabilities. "They bombed everywhere, including near schools where people who lost their homes are staying," said Jabalia resident Saed (45) to Reuters via messaging app on Sunday.

The army withdrew tanks to Zeitoun, as well as to Al-Sabra, where residents also reported heavy bombardment that destroyed several houses, including apartment buildings.

Displaced Palestinians offer Eid al-Fitr prayers in a Palestinian displaced persons camp on April 10, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images


Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned on Sunday that Israel risks facing a rebellion in Gaza without a post-war plan for the enclave. The number of killed in the Israeli military operation in Gaza has now exceeded 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The bombardment has devastated the coastal enclave and caused a deep humanitarian crisis. War-weary Palestinians continue to flee today to coastal areas of Rafah, fleeing Israeli bombing of the eastern districts of the city in the south of the Gaza Strip following evacuation orders.

"We have been through hell for three days," said Mohamed Hamad (24) to AFP, one of the 300,000 people who, according to Israel, fled from the Rafah area targeted by bombing. Ignoring international opposition and fear of civilian massacre, Israel has expanded the scope of its offensive with the aim of wiping out the "last battalions of Hamas", now targeting urban areas of Rafah where 1.4 million residents and displaced people reside.

According to witnesses, intensive bombing is hitting the eastern parts of the city, where Israeli tanks and infantry are conducting "targeted attacks" on the ground. AFP photographers have seen dozens of families piling furniture and household belongings onto trucks and fleeing Rafah, many towards Khan Yunis, a city in the south of the Gaza Strip that has been turned into rubble in the bombing.

Israel has promised to destroy the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas after fighters from that movement infiltrated southern Israel on October 7. More than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, were killed in that incident, according to Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces took over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, through which all humanitarian aid and fuel destined for the Palestinian territory of 2.4 million people, now in ruins, passes.

"No medical services or humanitarian aid are being provided to displaced persons in the northern part of the Gaza Strip," said an unnamed spokesman for the Gaza Civil Defense. A major Israeli offensive in Rafah would cause "chaos and anarchy" without eliminating the Palestinian Hamas movement, U.S.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned last night, acknowledging that the war has killed more civilians than Hamas members. The plan currently envisaged by Israel in Rafah "risks causing enormous damage to the civilian population without addressing the problem," Blinken told the television network NBC.

"There will still be thousands of armed Hamas members" even with intervention in Rafah, he added. According to him, Israeli intervention in Rafah would risk creating "chaos" and "anarchy," and ultimately a return of Hamas.

"We have seen Hamas return to areas that Israel freed in the north, even in Khan Yunis," Blinken said, alluding to the destroyed city near Rafah. U.S. authorities have publicly threatened to halt the delivery of certain categories of weapons to Israel, including artillery shells, if Israel launches a major offensive in the crowded city of Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, against which President Joseph Biden is opposed.

Blinken admitted to CBS that more civilians have been killed than Hamas members since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip on October 7.