The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it carried out expansive airstrikes in Gaza on Sunday (November 5, 2023) while ground troops completed their encirclement of Gaza City, ensuring that the enclave is sliced in two halves, media reports said.
Meanwhile, telecommunication service in the strip remains cut once again.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told The Times of Israel during an evening press conference that the military was carrying out “widespread strikes on terror infrastructure, below ground and above it”.
An official with the Hamas group, which rules Gaza, told the newspaper that “for more than an hour, intense bombings have been taking place around hospitals”.
The vicinity of the enclave’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, saw particularly heavy strikes, according to Salama Marouf, the head of the Hamas government’s media office.
The increased intensity of the bombardment came after the IDF revealed new intelligence Sunday it said provided further evidence that Hamas terror group was using medical facilities in the Gaza Strip to shield terror activities, The Times of Israel reported.
Meanwhile, US State Secretary Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to the West Bank and met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"The Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and resumption of essential services in Gaza and made clear that Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced," the US State Department said in a statement.
Blinken and Abbas discussed efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank, including the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians and hold those accountable responsible.
"Secretary Blinken reiterated that the United States remains committed to advancing equal measures of dignity and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike. The Secretary also expressed the commitment of the United States to working toward the realization of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for the establishment of a Palestinian state," read the statement.
The head of the UN’s emergency food relief agency, meanwhile, issued an urgent appeal from the Rafah border crossing for safe, expanded humanitarian access to Gaza as critical food supplies in the ravaged enclave reach dangerously low levels.
“Right now, parents in Gaza do not know whether they can feed their children today and whether they will even survive to see tomorrow. The suffering just meters away is unfathomable standing on this side of the border,” said Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
“Today, I'm making an urgent plea for the millions of people whose lives are being torn apart by this crisis,” she added.
WFP is scaling up to reach more than one million people with urgent food assistance in the next few weeks, and since 7 October, provided food and cash assistance to more than 650,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank.