Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Israel under pressure over plight of Gaza civilians as thousands flee

Palestinians on donkey carts hold up white flags trying to prevent being shot, while fleeing Gaza City (AP)
Palestinians on donkey carts hold up white flags trying to prevent being shot, while fleeing Gaza City (AP)

Israel has come under mounting pressure over the plight of civilians in Gaza from some of its closest allies, as thousands of Palestinians streamed out of the enclave’s north on foot because of dwindling food and water and the fear of approaching Israeli forces.

More than 70% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have already left their homes, but the number making their way south has risen recently as Israeli troops battle militants inside Gaza City and the humanitarian situation grows increasingly dire.

The G7 nations called for the “unimpeded” delivery of food, water, medicine and fuel, and for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far resisted such calls, while leaving open the possibility of smaller breaks.

But there remains no real end in sight to the war, which was triggered by Hamas’ October 7 assault inside Israel and is now in its second month.

Israel has said the battle to end Hamas’ rule and crush its military capabilities will be long and difficult, and that it will maintain some form of control over the coastal enclave indefinitely — though how it will achieve that remains unclear.

Palestinians wait for supplies
Palestinians crowded together as they wait for food distribution in Rafah,(AP)

Support for the war remains strong inside Israel, where the focus has been on the fate of more than 240 hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups.

About 15,000 people fled northern Gaza on Tuesday — triple the number that left Monday — according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. They are using Gaza’s main north-south highway during a daily four-hour window announced by Israel.

Those fleeing include children, older people and people with disabilities, and most walked with minimal belongings, the UN agency said. Some say they had to cross Israeli checkpoints, where they saw people being arrested, while others held their hands in the air and raised white flags while passing Israeli tanks.

Refugee camp strike
Palestinians look for survivors following Israeli air strike in Nusseirat refugee camp (AP)

Hundreds of trucks carrying aid have been allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt since October 21. But humanitarian workers say that is nowhere near enough.

Dominic Allen of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, speaking in the West Bank, said: “There is an ocean of needs in Gaza right now, and what’s been getting in is a drop in the ocean. We need fuel, we need water, we need food, and we need medical supplies.”

Residents reported loud explosions overnight into Wednesday across Gaza City and in its Shati refugee camp, which houses Palestinian families who fled from or were driven out of what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its establishment.

Fleeing Palestinians
Palestinians walk in the al-Rimal area of Gaza City (AP)

The army’s chief spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said late Tuesday that Israeli ground forces had reached “the depths of Gaza City”.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it killed one of Hamas’ leading developers of rockets and other weapons, without saying where he was killed.

Hamas has denied that Israeli troops have made any significant gains or entered Gaza City. It is not possible to independently confirm battlefield claims from either side.

Israel is focusing its operations on the city, which was home to some 650,000 people before the war and where the military says Hamas has its central command and a vast labyrinth of tunnels.

Hundreds of thousands have heeded Israeli orders to flee the north, where the city is located, in recent weeks, even though Israel also routinely strikes what it says are militant targets in the south, often killing civilians.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians remain in the north, however, many sheltering at hospitals or UN schools.

The north has been without running water for weeks, and the UN aid office said the last functioning bakeries shut down Tuesday for lack of fuel, water and flour.

Hospitals running low on supplies are performing surgeries – including amputations – without anaesthetic, it said.

In the south, the situation is little better, with hundreds of thousands of displaced people packed into makeshift shelters.

At one such place, 600 people must share a single toilet, according to the UN office.

An Israeli air strike hit a family house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Wednesday, killing at least 18 people and wounding dozens of others, according to Iyad Abu Zaher, director of the nearby Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where the dead and wounded were brought in.

He said the toll could rise as medics and first responders are still searching the rubble.

A month of relentless bombardment in Gaza since the Hamas attack has killed more than 10,500 Palestinians – two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory. More than 2,300 are believed to have been buried by strikes that in some cases have demolished entire city blocks.

More than 1,400 people have died in Israel since the start of the war, most of them civilians killed by Hamas militants during the October 7 incursion. Scores of hostages were also taken that day.

Fleeing people
A woman holds-up a white shirt trying to prevent being shot, as Palestinians flee Gaza City to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din street in Bureij (AP)

Israel says 32 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the ground offensive began, and Palestinian militants have continued to fire rockets into Israel on a daily basis.

Israeli officials say thousands of Palestinian militants have been killed, and blame civilian deaths on Hamas, accusing it of putting civilians at risk by operating in residential areas. Gaza’s health ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its casualty reports.

The war has stoked wider tensions, with Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group trading fire along the border.

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since the war began, mainly during violent protests and gun battles with Israeli forces during arrest raids. Some 250,000 Israelis have been forced to evacuate from communities along the borders with Gaza and Lebanon.