After a 7-day ceasefire, fighting has resumed in the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces report hitting “over 200 terror targets” while the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave reported at least 100 deaths by the afternoon of December 1. Strikes have spread from the north to the south of Gaza, where many civilians have taken refuge.
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At 5 am on December 1, the bombing resumed in Gaza as Israel proceeded with a bombing campaign that was paused for seven days as hostage and prisoner exchanges were carried out. A number of buildings have been impacted in the north, but the south of the enclave – where many civilians have taken refuge – was also hit.
As both parties accuse the other of breaking the temporary ceasefire, Palestinian civilians are again under fire and being forced to flee the fighting.
IDF considering southern Gaza’s Khan Yunis a ‘conflict zone’
Over the past two weeks, tens of thousands of Gazans have fled from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip to flee relentless bombardments. The south is now full of refugees taking shelter in hospitals or schools.
But a leaflet dropped on December 1 urged civilians to leave four towns in the Khan Yunis region. The leaflet tells them to move farther south:
To residents of al-Qarara, Khuza’a, Abasan and Bani Suheila, you must evacuate immediately and move toward safe zones in Rafah. The town of Khan Yunis is now a dangerous combat zone. You have been warned.
The QR code on the sheet takes you to a page on the IDF website which lists the zones that Palestinian civilians should evacuate.
“Please pay attention and check this map. Anyone who sees the block number in which he lives or is near it must track and follow the instructions of the IDF through various media outlets and obey them.“
The IDF is also sending text messages to Gazans asking them to evacuate certain areas to the south of the city. One resident was able to share one of these messages with the FRANCE 24 Observers team.
To the residents of al-Qarara living in blocks 39, 224, 2250, 2260, 2270, 2280, 2351, 132, 136, 137, 138 and 139:
The IDF will launch a major military attack against your area of residence with the aim of eliminating the Hamas terrorist organisation.
For your own safety, move immediately to the well-known shelters in the Rafah governorate and to the humanitarian zone in the al-Mawasi neighbourhood.
Stay away from military activity of any kind.
Do not wait and act immediately so that it is neither too late nor impossible!
Forgive those who warn!
The Israeli Defence Forces
Videos shared online share what eyewitnesses say are Israeli strikes in the town of al-Qarara on December 1. It was impossible to independently verify these videos, however, it is possible to geolocate one of these strikes, which is located in an area close to al-Qarara.
Airstrikes in Rafah and the Khan Yunis region
Bombing has now reached the south, including near the town of Rafah, at the border with Egypt.
This footage, posted on Snapchat, shows a building in the city of Rafah destroyed by an air strike.
Our Observer Adam Zyara left his home in northern Gaza to bring his family to Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis. This morning, he said he heard three successive strikes nearby.
He told us that those in the southern Gaza Strip have started to leave the evacuation zones that were designated by the IDF.
There has not yet been an exodus from the west of Khan Yunis this morning. However, the residents of al-Qarara and the other areas mentioned in the leaflet have been evacuating since the early hours of this morning.
As fighting has reached the south, many civilians who had come there for refuge are now again on the road.
Videos shared on Snapchat show civilians fleeing the town of Khan Yunis.
The north also bombed
In the northern part of the strip, in the Jabalia refugee camp, an apartment building was hit by a missile this morning.
Photographer Mahmoud Abusalama arrived at the scene just after the strike, posting a video of the damage on his Instagram story. In the video, he explains, “An apartment building was targeted in the Jabalia camp, a huge missile hit the building. As you can see, after days of ceasefire, Israel is bombing again.”
While the airstrikes seem to be concentrated in southern Gaza, Israel’s ground offensive is focused on the north. In Gaza City, in the northeast, our Observer Naji Abu Shabaan told us the situation in the north has changed.
After this week of ceasefire, the clashes have resumed. The fighting is far away from me. We don’t know much. We are one of the few families who have stayed in Gaza City. We can’t move because we have old people with us. We’re afraid to go out. Some people look out their windows, but not us. I told my family not to look out the window.