Conflicts & War

Death toll rises to 16,000 as Israeli offensive expands into Southern Gaza Strip

Jerusalem, Dec 4 (EFE).- The Israeli army’s offensive in the southern Gaza Strip continued Monday amid heavy bombardment in the enclave, with a death toll of 15,899 Palestinians since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

“Over the past few hours, Israeli Ground Forces and Air Force continued operations in various parts of the Gaza Strip, targeting rocket launchers, infrastructure and weapons storage facilities, and eliminating Hamas militants,” an Israeli military spokesman said.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday that the army “has begun operations in the southern Gaza Strip” and warned that “the fate of the terrorists” in the southern part of the enclave “will be the same or worse” than that of the Hamas militiamen killed in the first phase of the ground offensive in the northern cities.

During a visit to the border area of the Gaza Strip, Gallant added, “We will continue until victory and until all the goals are achieved: the elimination of Hamas and the return of the hostages to Israel.”

A spokesman for the Palestinian Islamist group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of the Palestinian organization Hamas), said in a statement that its fighters “completely or partially destroyed 28 military vehicles on all fronts” in the past 24 hours.

The ground fighting and aerial bombardment in the Gaza Strip on Monday brought a death toll of 15,899, according to Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry.

In addition, some 7,000 people are missing under the rubble and more than 42,000 have been injured since the war began on Oct. 7.

According to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Monday’s bombardment caused a significant number of deaths and injuries in the cities of Khan Younis in the south of Gaza and Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

At the same time, the Strip suffered another internet and communications blackout on Monday, according to the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel.

In response, a spokesman for the Palestine Red Crescent Society said it had lost contact with all its teams in the Gaza Strip. He warned that the blackout was making it difficult for ambulances to reach the wounded. EFE

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