Wounded rushed to hospital after heavy attacks outside 2 southern Gaza cities
The U.S. worked to break a deadlock over delivering aid to millions of increasingly desperate civilians in the Gaza Strip, which has been besieged by Israel since a brutal attack by Hamas militants, as U.S. President Joe Biden prepared to head to the region.
Israeli airstrikes continued to pound Gaza early Tuesday, killing dozens of people in the besieged enclave's south, where Israel told civilians from the north to seek shelter ahead of an expected ground offensive.
Wounded people were rushed to the hospital after heavy attacks outside the southern Gaza cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, Gaza residents reported. Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official and former health minister, reported that 27 people were killed in Rafah and 30 were killed in Khan Younis.
An Associated Press reporter saw around 50 bodies brought to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis since early Tuesday. Family members came to claim the bodies, wrapped in white bedsheets, some soaked in blood.
Israel has carried out unrelenting airstrikes against Hamas-ruled Gaza since the militant attack on southern Israel last week killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians. Dozens of Israelis and citizens of other countries were taken captive and brought to Gaza by militants.
The Israeli strikes have killed at least 2,778 people and wounded 9,700 others in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry there. The strikes have not stopped Hamas militants from continuing to barrage Israel with rockets launched from Gaza.
The combination of airstrikes, dwindling necessities caused by Israel's blockade, and Israel's mass evacuation order for the north of the Gaza Strip has thrown the tiny territory's 2.3 million people into upheaval and caused increasing desperation.
Gaza near complete collapse, say aid workers
More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes, and 60 per cent are now in the approximately 14-kilometre-long area south of the evacuation zone, the United Nations said. Aid workers warned that the territory was near complete collapse with ever-decreasing supplies of water and medicine and with power running out at hospitals.
At the Rafah crossing, Gaza's only connection to Egypt, truckloads of aid were waiting to go into the tiny, densely populated territory, and trapped civilians — many of them Palestinians with dual nationalities — were hoping desperately to get out.
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Mediators were trying to reach a ceasefire to open the border, which shut down last week after Israeli airstrikes. An agreement appeared to have been reached Monday, but Israel denied reports of a ceasefire in Rafah, which would be needed to open the gates. On Tuesday morning, they were still closed.
Humanitarian aid still can't get in
An Egyptian official said Tuesday that Egypt and Israel agreed that the aid convoys at the border would travel into Israel for inspection at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel. The aid would then be allowed into Gaza.
A brief humanitarian ceasefire would take place and foreign nationals would be allowed to exit Gaza via Rafah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak with the media.
Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, arrived in Tel Aviv for meetings with Israeli military authorities ahead of a Biden visit planned for Wednesday to signal White House support for Israel. Biden will also travel to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders amid fears the fighting could expand into a broader regional conflict as fighting intensified along Israel's border with Lebanon.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel for the second time in a week on Monday after a six-country tour through Arab nations, said in Tel Aviv that the U.S. and Israel had agreed to develop a plan to enable humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza.
In Gaza, hospitals were on the verge of losing electricity, threatening the lives of thousands of patients, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced from their homes searched for bread. With taps dry, many rationed the little clean water available and others resorted to drinking dirty or sewage-filled water, risking the spread of disease.
The Israeli military says it was trying to clear civilians for their safety ahead of a major campaign against Hamas in Gaza's north, where it says the militants have extensive networks of tunnels and rocket launchers. Much of Hamas' military infrastructure is in residential areas.
In addition to the dead, some 1,200 people across Gaza are believed buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said. Emergency teams struggled to rescue people while cut off from the internet and mobile networks, running out of fuel and exposed to unceasing airstrikes. On Monday Israeli warplanes struck the headquarters of the Civil Defence in Gaza City, killing seven paramedics. Another 10 medics and doctors have been killed on the job, health authorities said.
Israel evacuated towns near its northern border with Lebanon, where the military has exchanged fire repeatedly with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.
Speaking to the Israeli Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran and Hezbollah, "Don't test us in the north. Don't make the mistake of the past. Today, the price you will pay will be far heavier."
Soon after he spoke, the Knesset floor was evacuated as rockets headed toward Jerusalem. Sirens in Tel Aviv prompted U.S. and Israeli officials to take shelter in a bunker, officials said.
Many Palestinian Canadians choose to stay and fight for change
Featured VideoSome 300 Canadians are still trapped in Gaza and many are desperate to escape Israeli bombing. In the West Bank, 21 people got out via a Canadian government-arranged bus into Jordan. Still, not everyone wants to leave — many see staying it as an act of defiance, a chance to fight for change.
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