Israel bombards Gaza, strikes targets in Lebanon

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: CBC News:
October 23, 2023 at 15:14
Israeli military says it struck Hezbollah footholds in Lebanon that were planning to launch rockets

A large cloud of smoke is shown over a hill, with a cityscape in the background.
A picture taken from Israel's southern city of Sderot shows smoke billowing during a Israeli strike on Gaza on Monday. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel bombarded Gaza with more airstrikes on Monday as its soldiers fought Hamas militants on the ground in raids within the besieged Palestinian enclave.

In signs that the conflict was spreading, Israeli aircraft also struck southern Lebanon overnight and Israeli troops fought Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, residents said.

The United Nations said desperate civilians were running out of food, water and places to shelter from the unrelenting aerial pounding that has flattened swathes of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Both Israel and Hamas reported overnight clashes in Gaza.

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Israel said ground forces mounted limited raids to fight Palestinian gunmen and that airstrikes were being focused on sites where Hamas was assembling to attack any wider Israeli invasion.

"During the night there were raids by tank and infantry forces. These raids are raids that kill squads of terrorists who are preparing for our next stage in the war. These are raids that go deep," chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a briefing.

The raids also tried to gather information on the over 200 hostages being held by Hamas, he said.

Aid deliveries resume, slowly

Health authorities in Gaza said at least 5,087 people have been killed and over 15,200 injured in Israel's two-week bombardment that began after a Hamas Oct. 7 rampage on southern Israeli communities in which 1,400 people were killed, including several Canadians, and 212 were taken into Gaza as hostages.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) said about 1.4 million of Gaza's 2.3 million population were now internally displaced, with many seeking refuge in overcrowded UN emergency shelters.

A person holds a baby as people gather at buildings in ruin.
Palestinians gather at a house that was hit by an Israeli airstrike Monday in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Israel has ordered Gaza residents to evacuate the north. But the OCHA said it believed hundreds and possibly thousands of people who had fled were now returning to the north due to bombardments in the south and lack of shelter.

A third convoy of aid trucks entered the Rafah crossing from Egypt on Monday bound for the besieged Gaza Strip, an aid worker and two security sources said.

Deliveries of aid through Rafah began on Saturday after wrangling over procedures for inspecting the aid and bombardments on the Gaza side of the border had left relief materials stranded in Egypt. On Saturday and Sunday 34 trucks passed through.

The UN humanitarian office said the volume of aid entering so far was just four per cent of the daily average before the hostilities and a fraction of what was needed with food, water, medicines and fuel stocks running out.

The aid shipments did not include fuel.

Tensions across Israel's borders

Earlier on Monday, the Israeli military said that in the past 24 hours it had struck more than 320 targets in Gaza, including a tunnel housing Hamas fighters, dozens of command and lookout posts, and mortar and anti-tank missile launcher positions.

Israel has amassed tanks and troops near the fenced border around Gaza for a planned ground invasion aiming to annihilate Hamas.

Hamas's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, said its fighters engaged with an Israeli force that infiltrated Gaza and they destroyed some Israeli military equipment.

There was no Israeli comment about the destruction of equipment.

The Al-Qassam Brigades also said on Monday they were firing missiles on the south Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Mavki'im. Warning sirens blared out on the Israeli side.

A young woman in green army fatigues and carrying an automatic rifle cries as she kneels before a candlelit makeshift memorial.
People gather and light candles Sunday in Tel Aviv to remember the victims who were killed by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. (Dima Vazinovich/AFP/Getty Images)

Fears that the Israel-Hamas war could mushroom into a wider Middle East conflict rose over the weekend with Washington warning of a significant risk to U.S. interests in the region and announcing a new deployment of advanced air defences.

Israeli aircraft struck two Hezbollah cells in Lebanon on Monday that were planning to launch anti-tank missiles and rockets toward Israel, the Israeli military said. Israel also struck other Hezbollah targets, including a compound and an observation post, it said.

Hezbollah said on Monday that one of its fighters was killed, without providing details. Israel's military said seven troops have been killed on the Lebanese border since the latest conflict began.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, two Palestinians were killed at the Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah, the Palestinian health ministry said on Monday.

With violence around its heavily guarded borders increasing, Israel on Sunday added 14 communities close to Lebanon and Syria to its evacuation contingency plan in the north of the country.

In neighbouring Syria, where Hamas's main regional backer Iran has a military presence, Israeli missiles hit Damascus and Aleppo international airports early on Sunday, putting both out of service and killing two workers, Syrian state media said.

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