(CTN NEWS) – Israel’s military conducted a “targeted raid” overnight in northern Gaza and pledged to continue ground operations in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly convened to discuss a proposed resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire.
Video footage released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) showed tanks and armored vehicles, including a bulldozer, moving along a road near a fence in northern Gaza.
The tanks fired artillery, resulting in some visible destruction in the vicinity.
Speaking to CNN, IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner described the raid as “a clear and sweep operation intended to create better conditions for potential ground operations.”
He also noted that the IDF had “engaged the enemy, neutralizing terrorists who were planning anti-tank guided missile attacks against us.”
IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari later confirmed that Israel’s military would continue conducting raids in Gaza over the coming days.
These ground incursions are aimed at targeting Hamas militants, preparing for a potential full-scale invasion, and neutralizing explosive devices and reconnaissance posts.
The raid occurred against the backdrop of a worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, exacerbated by daily airstrikes and an Israeli blockade that restricts access to life-saving fuel.
Power shortages have crippled healthcare services, and hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes due to the ongoing bombing campaign.
According to data released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, gathered from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave, Israeli strikes have claimed the lives of over 6,850 people in Gaza, including numerous children, since October 7.
International pressure is mounting on Israel to allow urgently needed aid into Gaza.
The United Nations and several regional countries have called for an immediate ceasefire, while others advocate for a “humanitarian pause” in the hostilities.
However, the international community has not yet reached a consensus on addressing the crisis, nearly three weeks after it was ignited by Hamas’ brutal terror attacks on October 7, resulting in over 1,400 casualties in Israel and more than 200 people kidnapped.
Riyad Mansour, head of the Palestinian Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, posed a stark question to UN diplomats as he recounted the stories of Palestinians killed in Gaza.
“Almost all the casualties are civilians,” Mansour emphasized. “Is this the war that some of you are defending?”
UN member states are now preparing to vote on a draft resolution presented by Jordan on behalf of Arab states.
The resolution calls for a “cessation of hostilities,” the release of hostages, and the rejection of “any attempts at forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population.”
However, General Assembly resolutions, while politically significant, are non-binding.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed diplomats at the General Assembly, asserting that “collective punishment is not self-defense.”
His statement received rare applause inside the chamber as he emphasized caring about the lives of all civilians, regardless of their background.
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, criticized the resolution under discussion by the Assembly, characterizing requests for a ceasefire as attempts to restrict Israel’s ability to eliminate a significant threat to its citizens.
The United States has also rejected proposals for a ceasefire, instead advocating for “humanitarian pauses” to facilitate the delivery of essential aid to Gaza.
The US has affirmed its full support for what it views as Israel’s “imperative” to defend itself.
Additionally, the European Union called for humanitarian “pauses” in Gaza following a meeting in Brussels but stopped short of explicitly endorsing a ceasefire.
Hellfire On Hamas
Israel has expressed its commitment to eradicating Hamas, the militant group in control of Gaza, and has consistently mentioned that its ongoing blockade of the territory will be followed by a ground operation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a televised address on Wednesday, declared that the timing for such action would be determined by Israel’s War Cabinet.
Netanyahu stated, “We are raining down hellfire on Hamas,” while claiming that Israel has “already eliminated thousands of terrorists – and this is only the beginning.”
The prime minister also acknowledged, for the first time, that he will need to provide answers regarding the intelligence failures that allowed the deadliest terrorist attack in Israeli history.
He pledged a comprehensive examination of these failures after the current conflict.
According to Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, they believe they have killed “scores” of senior figures within Hamas’ military hierarchy since the initiation of airstrikes on Gaza more than two and a half weeks ago.
It’s important to note that CTN cannot independently verify Israel’s assessments, and Hamas has not commented on claims regarding the number of combatants killed in Israeli operations.
The Israeli forces announced that they had eliminated Shadi Barud, the deputy head of Hamas’ Intelligence Directorate, who they allege played a significant role in planning the October 7 attacks.
This information came in a joint statement from the IDF and Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency.
The Israeli military also indicated that intelligence reports suggest that airstrikes have killed Hamas rocket commander Hassan Al-Abdullah, who, according to the army, was in charge of rocket units in the Khan Younis area of Gaza.
The IDF and ISA released footage they claim shows the strikes that killed Barud, depicting at least two damaged buildings in Gaza appearing to collapse.
Hamas has not commented on this assertion.
Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes targeting what it refers to as Hamas “terror infrastructure” have resulted in extensive destruction across the densely-populated 140-square-mile Gaza Strip, which had long been described as an “open-air prison” by human rights organizations prior to the current conflict.
New satellite images captured by Maxar on October 21 reveal substantial devastation in northern Gaza, with entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble in eastern Beit Hanoun and similar destruction near the Al Shati Refugee Camp, Atatra, and Izbat Beit Hanoun.
The IDF had advised civilians to vacate the densely populated northern section of the Palestinian enclave, where the bombardment has been particularly intense.
However, airstrikes have also persisted in the south, and a CNN producer in Gaza reported that “there is no safe area.”
During a press conference, Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson, Ashraf Al-Qidra, stated that 12 hospitals had become inoperative since the commencement of Israel’s aerial campaign, and 101 medical personnel had lost their lives.
Al-Qidra accused Israeli forces of deliberately causing a collapse of the healthcare system by obstructing the entry of fuel and essential medical supplies into Gaza.
Israel has cited concerns that Hamas diverts fuel shipments for military purposes as the reason for restricting fuel deliveries.
On Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported that its Gaza bureau chief, Wael Al-Dahdouh, tragically lost his wife, son, daughter, and grandson in what it characterized as an Israeli airstrike.
The explosion struck a house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, where the family had sought refuge after being displaced.
According to the family’s statement, a total of 12 members of the Al-Dahdouh family perished in the blast, including nine children.
The IDF informed CTN that it had conducted an airstrike in the area where Al-Dahdouh’s relatives were killed, targeting what it described as “Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the area.”
The IDF added that strikes on military targets are conducted in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, with measures taken to minimize civilian casualties.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that at least 24 journalists have lost their lives since the outset of this conflict, as of Wednesday.
Of these casualties, 20 were Palestinian, three were Israeli, and one was a Lebanese journalist.
Overcrowded hospitals on the brink of collapse are grappling with the overwhelming influx of injured individuals arriving daily.
Doctors have emphasized their dire shortage of supplies and electricity to provide proper care to these patients, as well as to other individuals reliant on oxygen supplies for survival.
Videos recorded by journalists working with CTN have shown the aftermath of airstrikes, with victims in body bags and severely injured individuals, including children, in overwhelmed hospitals.
Since October 7, a total of 1.4 million people out of Gaza’s population of over 2 million have been displaced, with nearly 629,000 people seeking shelter in UN facilities, as reported by OCHA. Half of Gaza’s population comprises children.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza warned that it may have to suspend aid operations within a day if fuel deliveries are not received.
Such a halt would signify the end of a “lifeline” for civilians, according to UNRWA director for Gaza, Tom White.
Aid workers would face difficult decisions regarding which life-saving assistance they can provide, including fuel for desalination plants, hospitals, and bread production that sustains the local population.
An update from the UN humanitarian office OCHA noted that at least 38 United Nations personnel have lost their lives.
In Moscow, representatives from Hamas engaged in discussions with a senior Russian foreign ministry official on Thursday, as reported by Russian state media TASS and in a statement from Hamas.
The talks reportedly revolved around the release of hostages held by Hamas and the evacuation of Russian citizens from Gaza.
The Hamas delegation expressed appreciation for the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the diplomatic efforts of Russian authorities, according to a statement from the militant group.
The delegation, which met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, included Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy chief of Hamas’s political bureau, and Basem Naim, another senior Hamas leader based in Gaza.
Israel reacted strongly to reports of this meeting, condemning the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow.
Israel’s foreign ministry issued a statement, characterizing it as an act of support for terrorism and an endorsement of the actions of Hamas terrorists.
Qatar, involved in mediating negotiations involving Egypt, the United States, Israel, and Hamas, expressed optimism about a potential breakthrough in discussions to secure the release of hostages held by the militant group.
The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar made this announcement on Wednesday.
The hostage crisis is of international concern, with the Israeli government press office revealing that 135 hostages, more than half of those held by Hamas, hold foreign passports from 25 different countries.
These hostages include 54 Thai nationals, 15 Argentinians, and 12 individuals from Germany and the United States. So far, four hostages, two American and two Israeli, have been released.
Talks continue to secure the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, as stated by Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
US President Joe Biden stated that he had urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek the release of hostages in Gaza before any Israeli ground invasion.
However, when asked whether he had obtained assurances from his Israeli counterpart to delay a ground invasion while hostages remained in custody, Biden responded with a firm “no.”
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