Israel-Hamas war: Israel severs Gaza in two as Palestinian death toll ‘passes 10,000 mark’
Israeli forces severed northern Gaza from the rest of the besieged territory and pounded it with intense airstrikes, setting the stage for an expected push into the dense confines of Gaza City and an even bloodier phase of the month-old war.
The Palestinian death toll passed the 10,000 mark on Monday, the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said.
Some 1,400 Israelis have died, mostly civilians killed in the October 7 incursion by Hamas that started the war.
António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), described the situation in Gaza as a "crisis of humanity" and said the Palestinian enclave was fast "becoming a graveyard for children".
"Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day," Mr Guterres said.
The figures mark a grim milestone in what has quickly become the deadliest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence since Israel's establishment 75 years ago, with no end in sight as Israel vows to remove Hamas from power and crush its military capabilities.
Casualties are only likely to rise as the war turns to close urban combat.
Troops are expected to enter Gaza City soon, Israeli media reported. Palestinian militants who have had years to prepare are likely to fight street by street, launching ambushes from a vast network of tunnels.
The Israeli military said late Sunday that it had cut off northern Gaza from the south, calling it a "significant stage" in the war.
On Monday, it said aircraft struck 450 targets overnight and ground troops took over a Hamas compound.
A one-way corridor for residents to flee south remains available, according to the military, for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who remain in Gaza City and other parts of the north.
In recent days, airstrikes have hit UN facilities where thousands are sheltering, as well as hospitals, which have been overwhelmed by wounded and are running low on power and supplies.
A strike early on Monday hit the roof of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, killing a number of displaced people sheltering on its top floor and destroying solar panels, according to Mohamed Zaqout, the general manager of all hospitals in Gaza.
The solar panels had been helping to keep power on in the facility, which has been reduced to using one generator because of lack of fuel.
Heavy Israeli bombardment overnight also hit the Shati refugee camp, a densely built-up district on the Mediterranean coast adjacent to central Gaza City. Palestinians who fled south Monday reported that houses in the district were reduced to rubble with unknown numbers of people trapped underneath.
Some 1.5 million Palestinians – around 70 per cent of Gaza's population – have fled their homes since the war began.
Mobile phone and internet service had gone down overnight into Monday – the third territory-wide outage since the start of the war.
Israel has so far rejected US suggestions for a pause in fighting to facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries and the release of some of the estimated 240 hostages seized by Hamas in its raid.
Israel has also dismissed calls for a broader cease-fire from increasingly alarmed Arab countries, including Jordan and Egypt, which made peace with it decades ago.
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