In the latest bout of intense conflict in western Khan Younis, Gaza, Israeli forces have reportedly advanced deep into the area, marking the bloodiest fighting of the new year. Palestinian officials claim that one hospital, Al Khair, was stormed, and another, Al Amal, was placed under siege, severing access to trauma care for the wounded.
Troops ventured into the al Mawasi district near the Mediterranean Coast for the first time, arresting medical staff at Al Khair hospital. The situation at the hospitals has raised concerns, with the Palestinian Red Crescent reporting tanks surrounding Al Amal, hindering communication with staff. Palestinian Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al Qidra stated that at least 50 people were killed overnight, and the sieges on medical facilities have left dozens of dead and wounded beyond rescuers’ reach.
Israel has not immediately commented on the hospital situations. Allegations persist regarding Hamas fighters operating from hospitals, a claim denied by Hamas and medical staff. The conflict’s escalation, particularly in southern Gaza, is evident as Israeli tanks surge eastward across Khan Younis. Video footage depicts a desolate cityscape, with civilians navigating tents and abandoned structures amid intense gunfire and rising smoke columns.
Israel initiated an offensive last week, targeting Khan Younis as the alleged principal headquarters of Hamas fighters linked to October 7 attacks. The war’s latest phase has pushed the conflict into the enclave’s remaining corners, densely populated with those fleeing bombardment. The death toll, according to Gaza health authorities, has now reached at least 25,295 since October 7.
The majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are confined to Rafah and Deir al Balah, squeezed into public buildings and makeshift tent camps. At Nasser Hospital, the largest accessible in Khan Younis, the trauma ward is overwhelmed, treating wounded individuals in distressing conditions.
With graves being dug inside the hospital grounds due to safety concerns, burying the dead has become a challenging task for the besieged population. The Israeli military’s morning update did not address the significant battle in Khan Younis, providing combat details only for other areas.