Israel expanding ground offensive into central Gaza refugee camps

Israel is expanding its ground offensive into Palestinian refugee camps in central Gaza, as it warns the war with Hamas will last for months.

The UN has expressed grave concern after Israeli strikes reportedly killed dozens of people in Bureij, Nuseirat and Maghazi camps in recent days.

Heavy fighting is also continuing to the south, in the city of Khan Younis.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian president has described what is happening in Gaza as “beyond a war of annihilation”.

The Hamas-run health ministry has said at least 195 people have been killed across the territory over the past 24 hours.

More than 21,100 have been killed – mostly children and women – during 11 weeks of fighting, according to the ministry.

The war was triggered by an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on 7 October, in which at least 1,200 people were killed – most of them civilians – and about 240 others taken hostage.

Palestinian media cited local officials and witnesses as saying dozens of civilians were killed as Israel kept up its strikes across Gaza overnight.

Heavy bombardment was reported in the Middle Area, particularly in Bureij, Maghazi and Nuseirat camps.

In Nuseirat, Israeli warplanes targeted the homes of the Nasser and Hazouqi families, killing a number of people and wounding dozens more, according to the official Wafa news agency.

Hamas-affiliated Safa news agency also reported that five had been killed in a strike on a girls school in Maghazi.

Residents meanwhile told Reuters news agency that there was heavy fighting east and north of Bureij district and in the nearby village of Juhr al-Deek.

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