Israeli military forces have advanced further into the besieged Gaza Strip and battled with Palestinian fighters near Gaza City, as the United Nations and medical staff expressed fears over air strikes hitting closer to hospitals. Israeli soldiers and tanks carried out attacks from two sides of Gaza City in the northern section of the strip on Monday, with Palestinian armed groups saying that they repelled Israeli tanks to the east of the city.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad armed group said in a statement that it was not the right time to discuss a potential ceasefire.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also dismissed growing calls for a ceasefire, saying that such action would constitute “surrender to terrorism”.
Israeli forces said that they “killed dozens of terrorists who barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels and attempted to attack the troops”.
Israel also announced that it had freed a female Israeli soldier being held captive by the Palestinian armed group Hamas during its ground raids, which have expanded in recent days alongside its continuing aerial assault. More than 8,300 people, including 3,400 children, have been killed in the bombardment, according to Gaza officials, and UN officials and aid organizations have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe as Israel continues to impose a “complete siege” on the territory.
A small amount of aid has started to trickle into the beleaguered strip, with the Palestinian Red Crescent reporting that 26 trucks carrying aid entered through the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Monday.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphatically rejected calls for a ceasefire, saying that “this is a time for war”. The embattled prime minister also shot down questions about whether he will resign, as he faces widespread outrage from an Israeli public that holds his government responsible for a failure to stop an attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians. Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the United States for the “deadly chaos” in the Middle East in a televised address, calling the US a beneficiary of “global instability”.
The Turkish foreign ministry has condemned “in the strongest terms” an Israeli strike on the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital in Gaza, stating that it had shared the coordinates of the hospital with Israeli authorities in advance. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that it is unable to help resupply Al-Shifa and Al-Quds hospitals due to high risks.