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Israeli military expands Gaza offensive, civilians flee for safety

In a deeply distressing turn of events, the Israeli military has intensified its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, expanding its operations from the north to the southern region. This has left tens of thousands of Palestinians in search of safer havens amid escalating violence.

Hana Awad, a young entrepreneur displaced from Gaza City early in the conflict, expressed the profound impact on the local population: “We have reached a stage where we no longer feel any security. We have lost our jobs, family members, homes, faith, comfort, and even our city.”

Following the launch of the ground operation by the Israeli military in late October, Awad and numerous other Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip had to relocate to Rafah, near the Egyptian border. Despite the Israeli military’s directive to move to purportedly “safer areas” in southern Gaza, this region, too, has been subjected to intense bombing.

Recent reports indicate that Israeli forces have encircled the city of Khan Younis and are actively engaged “in the heart” of this second-largest city in Gaza. Evacuation notices have been issued in various parts of the city, urging residents to move either further westward or south to Rafah, with assurances of a temporary cessation of hostilities to facilitate the relocation.

Before the week-long truce from November 24 to December 1, residents in the eastern parts of Khan Younis were instructed by the Israeli military to leave the area. Military officials claim that some Hamas leaders are hiding in Khan Younis, particularly its Gaza-based leader Yahya Sinwar, allegedly linked to the October 7 terror attacks.

In a video statement on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “Our forces reach anywhere in the Gaza Strip. Now they are surrounding Sinwar’s house. It’s only a matter of time before we get him.” The ongoing military actions and surrounding of cities have created an increasingly dire situation for the civilian population in Gaza.

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