Joe Biden urges Netanyahu to protect Gaza civilians as death mounts
Israel must protect innocent Gaza residents by distinguishing between Hamas militants and civilians, the White House warned, as world leaders stepped up calls for desperately needed humanitarian aid to reach the war-torn Palestinian territory.
International pleas to safeguard civilians in the Gaza Strip are becoming more and more urgent as Israeli troops step up their air and ground operations there. The White House warned Israel on Sunday to distinguish between Hamas militants and innocent residents, while world leaders urged for immediate humanitarian aid to reach the war-torn Palestinian territory.
The United States urged Israel to protect innocent Gaza residents by distinguishing between Hamas militants and civilians. President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone, stating that although Israel has the right to self-defense, it must use it "in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritises the protection of civilians," according to the White House.
According to the Israel Defence soldiers, Israeli soldiers attacked targets in Syria and Lebanon on Monday. The IDF announced in two different tweets that a fighter plane had hit launchers in Syrian territory and that an aircraft had attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanese territory, including "infrastructures for directing terrorism and military infrastructures of the organisation." It claimed that both operations were in retaliation for rockets fired into Israel from those regions.
Within the last 24 hours, the Israeli military claimed to have carried out airstrikes against over 450 terrorist sites. Among these attacks were Hamas command centres and anti-tank missile launch locations. Following the attacks, massive columns of smoke billowed over Gaza City.
Israeli forces, supported by tanks, increased their ground assault early on Monday. Palestinians in northern Gaza reported heavy shelling and airstrikes. Bombs were directed towards sites close to the Shifa and Al-Quds hospitals in Gaza City, while fighting broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants east of the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis.
Images of war tanks on the Palestinian enclave's western shore were made public by Israel hours before the strikes, suggesting that an attempt to encircle Gaza's capital may be underway. This action was taken two days after the Israeli government issued an order to increase ground incursions across the border into the region controlled by Hamas.
Military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the strikes had resulted in the deaths of dozens of Hamas terrorists. The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip reports that over 8,000 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel's retaliatory bombardments since the October 7 incident, which is believed to have killed at least 1,400 people, largely civilians.