Middle East

Israeli forces launch new ground and air assault on central Gaza, killing at least 15 Palestinians

By Mohammad Al Sawalhi and Kareem Khadder, CNN

CNN  — 

The Israeli military launched a new ground and air assault in central Gaza on Tuesday, as its forces ramp up attacks amid a deepening humanitarian crisis.

The IDF claimed Tuesday afternoon local time that fighter jets were attacking Hamas targets in the Bureij area “at the same time as ground forces that are operating in a targeted manner and with intelligence guidance,” in the same area.

CNN cannot independently verify the IDF’s statement.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that 15 people had been killed and dozens injured during the Israeli operation, with the casualties occurring east of the Bureij and Al-Maghazi displacement camps. It said the local Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital was overwhelmed with admissions.

A CNN producer in the area said that at least six bodies had been brought to the hospital, along with more than 30 injured people.

Among those killed were a father and his 12-year-old son, when an artillery shell hit an apartment building east of Al Bureij, according to the CNN producer, as well as a boy and a girl.

A woman in her 20s was also killed.

The ministry said the number of patients was more than three times the hospital’s normal capacity and that it was unable to bear receiving more martyrs and injuries in light of this dangerous aggression against civilians, children and women.”

It called on the World Health Organization to visit the hospital.

Witnesses say civilians started to leave the Bureij area – heading towards the coast – after military activity there intensified.

Palestinians mourn relatives killed in an Israeli bombardment in the Bureij area of central Gaza on June 4, 2024.

Another CNN producer reported tank-fire in recent days from the east-west Netzarim corridor that the IDF has carved through central Gaza towards neighborhoods south of Gaza city. He said there had been a limited ground incursion in the same neighborhoods over the past three days.

News of the latest assault comes as the former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told CNN the war with Hamas had lost momentum and that Israel should pressure Hamas by pushing on with its controversial operations in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

“We need to act much quicker. This whole war is going on way too long. We could’ve done Rafah three, four months ago. I think a combination of poor execution of the Israeli government and the American administration’s constant slowing down of Israel coupled together made for a very slow and prolonged war,” Bennett told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

He said that prolonging the war is what Hamas wants, and the only way to get a ceasefire and hostage deal on the table is to put more pressure on Hamas and push harder in Rafah, adding that operations there have not concluded.

He said Israel is “paying an international price” as other countries criticize the war’s humanitarian toll. “We are trying to conduct the most just war in history,” Bennett said, but “everybody in the world is double-guessing and telling us how to do it and how they would do it better, but they’re not in our shoes, and we have to defend our citizens first.”

Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza on October 7 after the militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza, killed at least 1,200 people and abducted more than 250 others.

Israeli attacks in Gaza have since killed at least 36,550 Palestinians and injured another 82,959 people, according to the Ministry of Health there. CNN cannot independently confirm the figures.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Khader Al-Za’anoun of Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, contributed reporting.

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