Israel announces its ground forces are now pushing into southern Gaza

Israel has announced its ground forces are now operating in all parts of Gaza.

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said its troops were now pushing into southern Gaza as well as other areas of the country, after bombarding the area for the past three days.

The IDF’s chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi confirmed the news, saying: “Yesterday, and today, we eliminated brigade commanders, company commanders, many operatives, and yesterday morning we started the same process in the southern Gaza Strip, it will be with no less strength than that, it will be with no less results than that, and Hamas commanders will meet the IDF everywhere in a very, very strong way.”

The announcement comes after the Israeli military earlier today ordered more evacuations from south, where many of the territory’s 2.3 million people crammed into after Israel ordered civilians to leave the north in the early days of the war.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said they were running out of places to go in the sealed-off territory that borders Israel and Egypt.

Today air strikes and artillery bombardments have hit Khan Younis in the south of the enclave as Israel resumed its offensive against Hamas for a second day after a week-long truce.

Palestinians flee from east to west of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip (Photo: AP)

Many of the territory’s 2.3 million people are crammed into the south after Israeli forces ordered civilians to leave the north in the early days of the two-month-old war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address on Saturday night: “We will continue the war until we achieve all its goals, and it’s impossible to achieve those goals without the ground operation.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US is working “really hard” for a resumption of negotiations.

Whilst senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said resuming talks with Israel on further exchanges must be tied to a permanent ceasefire.

On Sunday, the Israeli military widened evacuation orders in and around Khan Younis, asking residents of at least five more areas and neighbourhoods to leave for their safety.

Residents said the Israeli military dropped leaflets ordering residents to move south to Rafah or to a coastal area in the south-west. “Khan Younis city is a dangerous combat zone,” the leaflets read.

UN monitors said in a report issued before the latest evacuation orders that the areas residents were told to leave make up about one-quarter of the territory of Gaza. The report said these areas were home to nearly 800,000 people before the war.

Ahead of a resumption of fighting, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, had warned Israel to avoid significant new mass displacement.

Additonal reporting by AP.