Wednesday February 21, 2024

Israeli tanks raid Gaza Strip, Arab states urge cease-fire

Published : 27 Oct 2023, 01:52

Updated : 27 Oct 2023, 01:56

  DF News Desk
An Israeli military vehicle runs near the Israel-Gaza border in southern Israel, on Oct. 16, 2023. File Photo: Xinhua.

As the Israel-Hamas conflict entered the 20th day, Israeli tanks and infantry raided the northern Gaza Strip, while the death toll of Palestinians increased to 7,028, reported Xinhua.

Nine Arab countries urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to oblige the warring parties to an immediate and sustainable cease-fire.

On the night between Wednesday and Thursday, Israeli tanks and infantry raided the northern Gaza Strip. The military said the raid was "part of preparations for the next stages of combat," in which Israel plans a ground offensive in Gaza.

In the morning, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters that warplanes struck over 250 Hamas targets in Gaza, including infrastructure, operational command centers, tunnel shafts, and rocket launchers. Naval soldiers struck a Hamas surface-to-air missile launch post in the Khan Yunis area.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry updated the death toll to 7,028, while 18,484 Palestinians have been injured, refuting the U.S. skepticism. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he "does not trust the validity of the death toll announced by the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip."

In a press conference, Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson of the ministry, read a 212-page report of the names and numbers of those killed in Gaza, and said "the Israeli occupation killed at least 7,028 Palestinians, including 2,913 children, 1,709 women and 397 elderly people."

"The world must realize that behind every number is the story of a person whose name and identity are known. Our people are not nobodies who can be ignored," he stressed.

Also on the day, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said in a press release that about 96 percent of Gazans have been plunged into poverty due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza-ruling Hamas.

"Even if a cease-fire is agreed and humanitarian aid is allowed to enter Gaza, poverty and deprivation will affect a significant share of the population for years to come," the release added.

Following the UN's failure to adopt two draft resolutions regarding Israel and Palestine, foreign ministers of nine Arab countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Morocco, urged the UNSC to oblige the warring parties in the Gaza Strip to an immediate and sustainable cease-fire.

In a joint statement, they condemned and rejected attempts at individual or collective forced displacement, as well as the policy of collective punishment.

They also expressed deep concern about the possibility of the current confrontations and conflict to expand to other regions in the Middle East, calling on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint.

On Thursday, rocket fire from Gaza continued, sending millions to shelters in Tel Aviv, Israel's financial capital, and other cities in central and southern Israel. About 1,400 people were killed and 224 kidnapped, according to official Israeli figures.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security confirmed in a statement that the deputy head of Hamas' Intelligence Directorate Shadi Barud was killed in an airstrike carried out based on "precise intelligence."

In his previous role as the head of the Fire Control Center in Hamas' Operations Unit, Barud planned the Oct. 7 attack together with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, according to the statement.