Escalation Anticipated: Israel Contemplates Intensifying Bombardment Amidst Plummeting Hamas Morale Ahead of Cease-Fire Talks

Escalation Anticipated: Israel Contemplates Intensifying Bombardment Amidst Plummeting Hamas Morale Ahead of Cease-Fire Talks

  • 24.11.2023 07:54

"Israeli military officials have signaled the possibility of an intensification of bombardment in the hours leading up to the four-day cease-fire set to commence early Friday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Lt. Col Richard Hecht, stated that artillery airstrikes might escalate during this period. Reports suggest Israeli shelling north of Gaza and in the southern city of Khan Younis, accompanied by ongoing heavy fighting in northern sections of Gaza City. As the IDF gains ground and eliminates senior officials, some Hamas terrorists have reportedly retreated south, contributing to a decline in morale.

The cease-fire, mediated by Qatar, is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Friday local time (12 a.m. ET), with the exchange of up to 50 hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners and humanitarian aid. However, amidst the conflict, reports from Qatar officials describe a grim scene, with stray dogs feeding on corpses in the ruins of Gaza City. Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari emphasized the unprecedented humanitarian situation, echoing recent testimony highlighting the challenges in managing the deceased.

The Hamas-run government claims over 14,500 casualties in Gaza since Israel initiated its response to the terror group's October 7 attack. Israeli forces have secured significant areas in Gaza, continuing efforts to dismantle the intricate tunnel network beneath the city and eliminate terrorist threats."

Last week, a tunnel was reportedly discovered beneath the al-Shifa hospital, indicating that Hamas had been exploiting international humanitarian law meant to protect civilian medical centers during wartime. The Israeli military claims that the Hamas terror tunnel network under the hospital utilized electricity and resources from the hospital, stored weapons on the hospital grounds, and even had terrorists seeking refuge within the hospital after an attack on October 7, taking hostages with them. While Hamas denies these accusations, Israel released extensive footage and images providing insight into Hamas' underground tunnel system through an entrance found at the al-Shifa Hospital. On Thursday, Israel confirmed the hospital director, Dr. Abu Salmiya, was taken into custody for questioning, alleging that the hospital served as a Hamas command and control center under his management. The hospital has evacuated its patients and staff south in preparation for the cease-fire.

In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the discovery of a tunnel beneath the al-Shifa hospital has intensified the accusations against Hamas for exploiting international humanitarian law. The Israeli military asserts that the terror group used the hospital's resources, stored weapons on the premises, and even sought refuge within the hospital after a deadly attack, taking hostages with them. Despite Hamas denying these allegations, Israel has presented extensive evidence, including footage and images, revealing a glimpse into Hamas' underground tunnel system. The recent detention of the hospital director, Dr. Abu Salmiya, further underscores the gravity of the situation, with Israel alleging the hospital served as a Hamas command and control center under his management. As the hospital evacuates its patients and staff ahead of the cease-fire, these developments add a complex layer to the ongoing conflict and raise critical questions about the use of civilian infrastructure in warfare.