Dozens of suspected Hamas militants have reportedly surrendered to Israeli forces as the country ramps up its attack on the Gaza strip.
The men turned themselves in after being pushed back by the advancing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) near Jabaliya, according to the Times of Israel. Clips posted on social media show the near naked men blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back as soldiers stand by.
In one clip, a group of captive men can be seen being transported in the back of an Israeli military vehicle.
While the IDF has not commented on the images, it's believed Hamas fighters were among the captured men.
Israel continues to battle Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip's biggest cities and says it has attacked dozens of targets, leaving 350 Palestinians dead and the rest struggling to survive in rapidly shrinking areas of refuge.
Gazans crammed into Rafah on the southern border with Egypt, heeding Israeli leaflets and messages saying that they would be safe in the city after successive warnings to head south.
But more than 20 people were killed in apartments there sheltering displaced civilians from the north late on Wednesday, said Eyad al-Hobi, a relative of some of those killed.
The Israeli army invaded a shelter in Nort Gaza arrested all the men and children above the age of 15 and forced them to be naked and transported them naked in the cold weather to detention centers. pic.twitter.com/51uT5MYIDo
— Mustafa Barghouti @Mustafa_Barghouti (@MustafaBarghou1) December 7, 2023
"All apartments in the building suffered serious damage," he said as people brought out two apparently lifeless children.
Another relative, Bassam al-Hobi, said the building had been hit by three rockets.
"They targeted women and children, as you can see, and the guests who were told the south would be safe," he said, gesturing to bodies wrapped in white cloth, some small, lined up on the ground and surrounded by mourners.
Israel said militants had fired at least one rocket from Rafah and 12 from the desolate area of Al Mawasi on Gaza's southern Mediterranean coast where it has also advised displaced people to gather, leaving the status of the areas unclear.
In southern Gaza's largest city, Khan Younis, Israel said its forces killed a number of gunmen, including two militants who emerged firing from a tunnel.
Residents reported several Israeli air strikes and non-stop tank fire in the city's east.
US calls on Israel to do more to protect civilians
In Washington DC, a senior State Department official said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israel's strategic affairs minister on Thursday and told him Israel needs to do more to protect civilians in its offensive in southern Gaza.
Israeli troops reached the heart of Khan Younis on Wednesday in a new phase of the war, now entering its third month.
Health officials said three people were killed there on Thursday.
Ambulances and relatives rushed the wounded into the city's Nasser hospital but even the floor space inside was full.
Two badly wounded children lay on a trolley and a bloodstained young boy lay screaming among the patients on the floor.
"The injuries are very severe," doctor Mohamed Matar said.
"The situation is catastrophic in all senses of the word... we can't treat the injured in this state."
Those who escape violence face an increasingly desperate struggle to survive.
A senior Hamas official told Reuters mediators were still exploring opportunities for a truce and reiterated its demand that Israel cease its attacks.
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said there were promising signs that the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel could soon be opened to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.
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