Israeli army units are deployed in the “heart of the Gaza City,” the country’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday, amid continuous attacks targeting civilian infrastructure in the blockaded enclave, as the U.S. said it opposes the occupation of Gaza.
“The ground forces attacked from all directions with complete coordination with naval and ground forces. They are tightening the stranglehold around Gaza,” Gallant said in a televised address.
Israel has launched air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.
At least 10,328 Palestinians, including 4,237 children and 2,719 women, have been killed since then. The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is nearly 1,600, according to official figures.
Besides the large number of casualties and massive displacements, basic supplies are running low for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents due to the Israeli siege.
Despite growing calls for a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear there will not be one unless the hostages are freed.
He has said Israel would assume “overall security” in Gaza after the war ends while allowing for possible “tactical pauses” before then to free captives and deliver aid to the besieged territory of 2.4 million people.
“Our viewpoint is that Palestinians must be at the forefront of these decisions and Gaza is Palestinian land and it will remain Palestinian land,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel.
“Generally speaking, we do not support the reoccupation of Gaza and neither does Israel.”
Israel withdrew from the territory, which it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in 2005.
On Tuesday, U.N. rights chief Volker Turk called the month that followed the attack one marked by “carnage, of incessant suffering, bloodshed, destruction, outrage and despair.”
Since the attack, Israel has relentlessly hammered Gaza with over 12,000 air and artillery strikes and sent in ground forces that have effectively cut it in half.