The Israeli military said it launched its 10,000th airstrike against Hamas in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ramps up its offensive in the south.
Israel has vowed to do everything it can to protect civilians as it targets Hamas and its network of tunnels. Many of the 10,000 airstrikes have been aimed at destroying Hamas’ underground labyrinth.
Israel ordered evacuations from large sections of Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, on Monday. Critics say there are few places to evacuate to, as Southern Gaza is already crowded with Palestinians displaced during Israel’s campaign against Hamas in the northern part of the strip.
The IDF says it has struck over 400 separate Hamas targets since the cease-fire agreement collapsed on Friday. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Sunday that Hamas was to blame for the end of the cease-fire, because they did not release ‘additional women and children that we know that they are holding, and they’re refusing to let go.’
‘Our policy is clear — we will forcefully strike any threat posed against our territory,’ IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claims more than 700 Palestinians have been killed over the past 24 hours.
The increased volume of Israel’s barrage comes as the conflict threatens to spill into the wider region. Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired rockets at trade vessels in the Red Sea on Sunday. U.S. Navy warship USS Carney also shot down three Houthi drones.
The U.S. has deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups to the region in an effort to deter Iran and its proxies from entering the war, but terror groups have still launched dozens of attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since mid-October.
President Biden’s administration has called for more extended humanitarian pauses in the conflict, with Biden arguing it can only end with a negotiated two-state solution.