The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas announced on Friday night that fighting was ongoing between members of its military wing and Israeli army units in the Gaza Strip, which yesterday became the target of an unprecedented Israeli bombardment since October 7, when the war broke out.

“We are facing Israeli ground incursions in Beit Hanoun (north) and Al Buraij (center). Fierce fighting is underway,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades summarized.

An Israeli army spokesman told AFP on Friday night that Israeli forces were operating “inside the Gaza Strip, as they did” the previous day. Israeli army units entered the small Palestinian enclave before withdrawing.

The fighting followed the Israeli military’s announcement that it had “in a very significant way” intensified its strikes in the Gaza Strip and that it would “expand” its ground operations.

The UN, which is calling for a cease-fire, said it feared an “unprecedented avalanche of humanitarian suffering” in the 362-kilometer Palestinian territory, which continues to be besieged and its 2.4 million residents are deprived of everything.

Israeli shelling, as captured by cameras and cameras, yesterday reached a level not seen in three weeks, after Israel declared war on Hamas following its attack on Israeli territory that left more than 1,400 dead.

Telecommunications and internet access were cut off in Gaza, according to authorities in Hamas, which has ruled the enclave since 2007. AFP journalists found they could only communicate in areas where there was a signal from Israeli telecoms antennas. .

Hamas yesterday called on the international community to “act now to stop the Israeli bombardment”, while at the same time saying it was “ready” to repel a ground invasion. Also, the Palestinian Islamist movement reported that a “barrage of rockets” was launched against targets in Israel.

Last night, the sky in the Gaza Strip was orange-red, as if it had caught fire from the explosions.


“Unless there is fundamental change, the people of Gaza will suffer an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned.

“Many more” people “will soon die” because of the siege imposed by Israel since October 9, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philip Lazzarini, said from Jerusalem. .

“Essential services are collapsing, supplies of medicine, food and water are running low, sewers are overflowing onto the streets,” he described.

“The smell of death is everywhere, in every neighborhood, every street and every house,” said Raed al-Astal, a doctor in Gaza.

Perhaps in a prelude to the ground operation it has repeatedly announced, the Israeli military made two incursions in 48 hours. His units with air support targeted Hamas positions, which he accused of waging war “from hospitals” and of using civilians as “human shields”. Hamas denies these accusations.

Hamas’ health ministry said yesterday that 7,326 people, mostly civilians, including more than 3,000 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israeli retaliatory shelling began on October 7.

According to the Israeli military, in the deadliest attack on Israeli territory that Saturday, Hamas took 229 hostages, Israelis, foreigners and people with dual citizenship. Hamas has since freed four women, while on Thursday it said “almost 50” hostages had been killed in the relentless Israeli bombardment.


Israel’s political and military leadership declares that it will “annihilate” Hamas after the October 7 attack. But the prospect of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s most densely populated areas, is raising international concerns and calls for Israel to protect civilians have multiplied.

The ground operation will result in “a humanitarian disaster of colossal proportions for years,” said Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

European Union leaders called for “pauses” in the conflict and the opening of humanitarian corridors. The US, a key ally of Israel, said it would favor “humanitarian pauses”. The UN General Assembly, after a marathon meeting, last night called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”. Israel rejects all these appeals and yesterday called the General Assembly’s decision a “disgrace”, which was praised by Hamas.

Since October 21, just 74 trucks of humanitarian aid have arrived in the Gaza Strip via Egypt, according to the UN, when it estimates more than 100 are needed a day. “Some trucks are just crumbs that won’t make any difference” to people in need, as UNRWA head Lazzarini put it.

The agency said it had “drastically reduced operations” due to the bombing and fuel shortages. 12 of the 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have been forced to close.

The Palestinian enclave has been subject to a land, air and naval blockade by Israel for 16 years and since October 9 has been under a state of “total siege” by the Israeli army, which has cut off water, electricity and food supplies.


Since October 15, the Israeli army has not stopped demanding that civilians leave the northern part of the Gaza Strip, where the shelling is more intense, and move south.

But his blows continue in the south, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have gathered, near the always closed border with Egypt.

The international community fears the spread of war, a regional conflagration, while Iran, in recent years a staunch supporter of Hamas, has repeatedly issued warnings to the US.

For its part, Washington announced yesterday that it launched attacks on Thursday against ammunition depots of the Revolutionary Guards, an elite body of the Iranian army, and “organizations associated with them” in eastern Syria.

Tensions have reached red in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, where more than a hundred Palestinians have been killed since October 7, as well as on Israel’s border with Lebanon, where gunfire is daily between the Israeli and the military arm of Hezbollah, an Israeli-backed Shiite movement allied to Hamas.