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Fighting Intensifies in Southern Gaza and Its Main City, Khan Younis

Fighting intensified in southern Gaza on Monday, with medical personnel reporting heavy exchanges of gunfire and a surge of Israeli tanks and troops into areas around hospitals.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Gazan health ministry said many people had been killed and wounded in the city of Khan Younis on Monday, without providing specific counts. Nahed Abu Taaema, the director of surgery at Nasser Hospital, the largest hospital in southern Gaza, told Al Jazeera in a televised interview that it had received 100 wounded people and 50 bodies.

Naseem Hasan, an ambulance officer at Nasser, said in an interview that tanks were about 100 meters south of the hospital and “can target anyone.” He said one ambulance carrying a person who had been shot in the head was not able to reach Nasser this morning and had to go to a hospital in Rafah — a journey that took three hours.

In a statement, the Red Crescent said the presence of Israeli troops near Al-Amal Hospital, which it operates, meant that its ambulances could not reach the injured in Khan Younis. It said that anyone attempting to move around the area was coming under fire.

“Khan Younis is very dangerous now,” Nebal Farsakh, a spokeswoman for the Red Crescent, said in an interview. “The whole district of Khan Younis is essentially besieged.”

As Israel has wound down its operations in northern Gaza, it has pushed ahead with its invasion of Khan Younis, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have sought shelter in schools, hospitals and tent cities.

Israeli officials have said the campaign in the city — which they describe as a Hamas stronghold — was targeting the group’s leadership, and they have accused Hamas of using hospitals and other civilian infrastructure to hide its operations. But civilians, many of whom have relocated several times since the start of the war, have been left with no refuge.

Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, reported on Monday that several people had been killed and wounded at a school in Al-Mawasi, a seaside area west of Khan Younis, after an Israeli strike. The report could not be independently verified. The school was sheltering displaced people who went there after the Israeli military told them that Al-Mawasi was a safe zone.

Ms. Farsakh said that Red Crescent crews had been receiving calls from people who were wounded across Khan Younis, including at the school in Al-Mawasi, and that the crews were unable to respond “because they are being targeted.”

The Israeli military said on Monday that its soldiers launched a new operation on Sunday night in western Khan Younis that would target Hamas infrastructure, including a security headquarters and command centers, over the next several days.

Army officials noted in a statement that the sensitive sites in the area include several hospitals, but that Hamas “exploits the civilian population” and has used medical facilities in its operations, including an attack launched last week from Nasser Hospital. The statement said areas occupied by civilians had been marked and the soldiers involved would use their experience to “mitigate harm to uninvolved individuals.”

A day after the Gazan health ministry said the death toll in the fighting had reached 25,000, officials said that Israeli strikes had killed 190 people and wounded 340 others in the enclave over the previous 24 hours. It did not specify how many of the casualties were in Khan Younis.

A few hours later, the Israeli military said it had lost 200 soldiers since the start of its ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27, part of its broader response to the Oct. 7 attack, which Israeli officials say left about 1,200 people dead.

Ameera Harouda contributed reporting from Doha, Qatar, Abu Bakr Bashir from London, and Johnatan Reiss from Tel Aviv.

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Nathan is an experienced journalist. He's covered a broad spectrum of topics, including politics, culture, and human interest stories, always aiming to engage and inform his audience. Nathan has a degree in Journalism and upholds the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in his work.

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