Israeli forces are advancing into southern Gaza’s Khan Yunis, where residents have received conflicting instructions on evacuating and the area’s main hospital is overflowing with the dead and wounded.
Rina Bassist, Ezgi Akin, Beatrice Farhat, Elizabeth Hagedorn, Adam Lucente, Jack Dutton, Jared Szuba and Al-Monitor’s contributors on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel contributed to this blog.
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Live updates (all times EDT):
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023
2:50 pm: Netanyahu says Gaza must be demilitarized after war
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference Tuesday evening that "Gaza must be demilitarized after the war,” adding, “No international force can be responsible for that." Netanyahu did not offer details on how he thinks this would be done.
Also at the press conference, Netanyahu said the Israeli military has so far eliminated "about half of Hamas' battalion commanders." He added that Israel's military aims in Gaza and the humanitarian effort in the enclave do not contradict one another. “If a change needs to be made, we'll do it," he said.
2:16 pm: Pentagon reviews Amnesty report that US-made bombs hit civilians
The Pentagon is reviewing a report published by Amnesty International on Tuesday that found Israel dropped US-made munitions in two separate strikes on civilian homes in Gaza, spokesperson Pat Ryder told reporters.
Ryder did not say what office was reviewing the evidence.
Fragments bearing identifying marks of US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions were recovered at the scene of two airstrikes, which Amnesty described as “unlawful airstrikes on homes full of civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip,” calling for a war crime investigation.
The strikes killed a total of 43 civilians, including 19 children and 14 women, Amnesty reported.
12:30 pm: US announces visa ban policy for Israel’s extremist West Bank settlers
The State Department has announced a new visa policy targeting Israeli settlers attacking and displacing Palestinians in the West Bank amid an uptick in settler violence against Palestinians since Oct. 7. Elizabeth Hagedorn reports.
11:50 am: Two Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza Strip
Two more Israeli soldiers were killed during fighting in the Gaza Strip, bringing the toll of the ground operation to 82, said Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari. The IDF Central Command described the last 24 hours as “especially significant,” with troops fighting Hamas attackers in hundreds of incidents and reaching the city of Khan Yunis in the south.
10:30 am: US-Israel rift grows over Gaza war timeline
Sources told Al-Monitor that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed a different timeline from what Israel had in mind to end the war. Ben Caspit has an exclusive report on the widening rift.
7:20 am: Gazans have nowhere to go as Israel widens offensive in south
As Israel presses with its ground and air offensive in the southern Gaza Strip, the UN and rights organizations are expressing concerns over the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe. The World Health Organization has warned of southern hospitals collapsing as they struggle with the increasing numbers of injured. The Israeli army has ordered the residents of Khan Yunis to evacuate further north, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to “concentrate into what is less than one-third of the Gaza Strip,” according to UNRWA. Beatrice Farhat reports.
6:48 am: Israeli forces storm Khan Yunis
Israeli tanks entered the eastern parts of Khan Younis in southern Gaza through the border fence with Israel and advanced toward the west, according to residents cited by Reuters, for the first time since Israel launched its assault on the south last Friday. In a post on its Telegram channel, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, claimed to have struck two Israeli tanks in the east of Khan Yunis and said its forces have killed several Israeli soldiers. The Israeli army has yet to comment on the claim. Israel resumed its offensive on the Gaza Strip last week after the collapse of a temporary cease-fire, focusing on the south, where it claims the Hamas leadership is hiding.
6:42 am: Hezbollah, Israeli army trade fire along Israel-Lebanon border
The Israeli army struck several positions belonging to the Hezbollah movement in south Lebanon in response to fire toward northern Israel, the military said in a statement. Fighter jets struck “terrorist infrastructure and military posts used for weapons storage and by terrorist operatives,” according to the statement.
The Iran-backed movement earlier claimed to have achieved “direct hits” on an Israeli military site in the Ruwaisa al-Asi area. The National News Agency reported Israeli artillery shelling in several areas in south Lebanon. The two parties have been engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges along the Israel-Lebanon border since the war in Gaza erupted Oct. 7.
5:32 am: US aid chief arrives in Egypt
USAID Administrator Samantha Power arrived in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula with an aid shipment of 36,000 pounds of food assistance and medical supplies to be delivered to the Gaza Strip, the agency announced. A USAID spokesperson told Reuters that Power is expected to announce a $21 million aid package to the Palestinians.
Concerns are growing about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, where Israel has expanded its offensive and entered the southern areas of the Strip, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people are concentrated. “More must be done to protect civilians and accelerate the pace of life-saving assistance reaching the people of Gaza,” Power said in a post on X.
4:00 am: France freezes Sinwar's assets for six months
France said it is freezing the assets of Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar for a period of six months, AFP reported Tuesday morning. The decree, which came into effect Tuesday.
Last month, Secretary of State Laurence Boone called for European financial sanctions against senior Hamas officials. On Nov. 13, the French Finance Ministry said it would freeze the assets of Hamas military branch commander Mohammed Deif for six months.
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