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Israeli military has given its clearest indication yet that troops are preparing to invade the Gaza Strip.

In a statement released just hours after its evacuation deadline for north Gaza expired – forcing hundreds of thousands of panicked civilians to flee south, without food or shelter – the Israel Defence Forces said it is preparing for the “next stages of war”.

“With the support of an extensive logistical effort and hundreds of thousands of drafted reservists, IDF forces are currently preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans, which can include combined and co-ordinated strikes from the air, sea and land,” the statement read.

“IDF battalions and soldiers are deployed across the country and are increasing operational readiness for the next stages of war, with an emphasis on significant ground operations.”

The IDF has swarmed the border of Gaza with troops and military equipment – but the exact contours of its plan for a siege remains unclear. No timings have been given for the attack.

More than 2200 people have been killed in Israel’s bombing campaign of the region, Palestinian authorities say, in the aftermath of Hamas attack on Israel last weekend, in which more than 1300 people were killed.

Follow our live coverage.

Women and children killed while fleeing northern Gaza

Women and young children were among those killed after a Palestinian convoy was hit while fleeing northern Gaza.

According to the BBC, the strike occurred on Salah-al-Din street – one of two evacuation routes from north Gaza to the south.

Palestinian journalist Hashem Al-Saudi told CNN that “the situation is much worse than what you see on television”.

“Streets are filled with rubble and reek of blood,” Mr Al-Saudi said.

“Even those who moved south were hit by air strikes … Nowhere is safe in the Gaza Strip.

“Everyone on this piece of land is targeted by the Israeli military, which from the start did not differentiate between civilian and shoulder.”

Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled the besieged region by car, on trucks and on foot on Saturday after being given a 24-hour warning by Israel to evacuate – orders that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called “utterly impossible”.

Graphic footage of the carnage at the scene, which emerged shortly afterwards, showed at least 12 bodies – with some of the children allegedly appearing as young as two to five years old.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 70 people were killed at the scene, and blame Israel for the attack.

Iran warns of ‘far-reaching consequences’ of Israel’s attack

Iran’s mission to the United Nations has warned of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip do not stop “immediately”.

“If the Israeli apartheid’s war crimes & genocide are not halted immediately, the situation could spiral out of control & ricochet far-reaching consequences – the responsibility of which lies with the UN, the Secretary Council & the states steering the Council toward a dead end,” the post on X read.

It comes after Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, warned the war might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah militants join the fight.

Israeli air strike hits Syria’s Aleppo Airport

Israel launched an air strike against Syria’s Aleppo Airport that put it out of service, the Syrian defence ministry said.

“The Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the direction of the Medittaranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport, which led to material damage to the airport and it being out of service,” it said.

The airport had just returned to service on Saturday after simultaneous missile attacks on both it, and the airport in Syria’s capital Damascas, by Israeli forces on Thursday.

The defence ministry lambasted Israel for the strike, saying the act “confirms the criminal approach of the Israeli occupation” and accusing it of “crimes against the Palestinian people”.

Forced relocation ‘tantamount to a death sentence’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Israel’s forcing of patients to relocate from health facilities in northern Gaza could be “tantamount to a death sentence”.

Hospitals there are continuing to receive an influx of injured people, and are struggling to operate “beyond maximum capacity”.

“Those in intensive care; those undergoing haemodialysis; newborns in incubators; women with complications of pregnancy, and others all face imminent deterioration of their condition or death if they are forced to move,” it said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Forcing more than 2000 patients to relocate to southern #Gaza, where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number [of] patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence.”

Israel claims to have killed Hamas leader who plotted massacre

The Israeli air force says it has killed a senior Hamas leader who planned attacks that left over 1300 Israeli’s dead on October 7.

Israeli forces claim Ali Qadhi, a company commander in the Najaba force of Hamas, was killed by a drone strike.

The strike was reportedly launched after obtaining intelligence from Shin Bet security agency.

Qadhi was reportedly arrested by Israel in 2005 over the kidnapping and murder of Israeli citizens. In 2011, he was released to Gaza as part of a prisoner swap.

“Ali Qadi led the inhumane, barbaric October 7 massacre of civilians in Israel,” the IDF said following the drone strike.

“We just eliminated him. All Hamas terrorists will meet the same fate.”

Israel also claims Abu Merad, head of Hamas’ air forces, was killed.

Israel preparing for ‘next stages of war’

The Israel Defence Forces said it is preparing for the “next stages of war” in a statement released just hours after its evacuation deadline for Gaza expired on Saturday.

“With the support of an extensive logistical effort and hundreds of thousands of drafted reservists, IDF forces are currently preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans, which can include combined and co-ordinated strikes from the air, sea and land,” the statement read.

“IDF battalions and soldiers are deployed across the country and are increasing operational readiness for the next stages of war, with an emphasis on significant ground operations.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video on social media earlier on Sunday morning of him visiting troops on the front line, telling them “the next stage is coming”.

The IDF has swarmed the border of Gaza with troops and military equipment – but the exact contours of its plan for a siege remains unclear. No timings have been given for the attack.

– with AFP



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