Escalating Crisis in Gaza: Israel’s Warning to Khan Younis Raises Humanitarian Concerns

Palestinians on the move in Khan Younis on Friday. The Israeli army has now told people to move west of the city. CREDIT: AP

The situation in the Gaza Strip is extremely dire, with Israel issuing warnings for residents in the southern city of Khan Younis to relocate westward, potentially worsening the humanitarian crisis. The warning is part of Israel’s plan to target Hamas in southern Gaza after dealing with the north. The conflict has led to the destruction of much of Gaza City, the depopulation of the northern half of the enclave, and the displacement of two-thirds of its 2.3 million Palestinians.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, blaming them for attacks into Israel. The latest warning for Khan Younis indicates a potential military operation there. International calls for a ceasefire or humanitarian pauses have not halted the conflict. The death toll, especially among civilians and children, continues to rise, with Gaza health authorities reporting over 12,000 deaths, including 5,000 children.

Israel dropped leaflets over Khan Younis, urging evacuation to shelters. The goal is to move civilians away from potential crossfire and closer to humanitarian aid. The western areas, closer to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, are seen as safer and more accessible for aid delivery.

A Palestinian child wounded in the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is treated in Khan Younis on Friday. CREDIT: AP

Despite warnings of starvation and disease due to a siege, Israel agreed to allow fuel trucks into Gaza, addressing some immediate needs. The international community is pressuring for increased aid, emphasizing the deteriorating humanitarian conditions. Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza reported the death of a premature baby, and Hamas announced the death of a captive from Israel, an 85-year-old who allegedly died of a panic attack during an airstrike.

Thousands of people gather along Gaza’s main highway on their way south on Friday. Videos of the area showed people filing through a checkpoint (centre). CREDIT: MAXAR/AP

In addition to the Gaza situation, violence flared in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli strikes killed at least five Palestinians. The conflict has broader regional implications, as Russia facilitated the evacuation of 170 Russian citizens from Gaza into Egypt. The situation remains highly complex and volatile, with no immediate resolution in sight.