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Israel-Hamas war: Fighting in 'every part' of the Gaza Strip

Published December 3, 2023last updated December 3, 2023

Israel's military says its ground forces are operating against Hamas in all of the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the ICC chief prosecutor wants to investigate possible crimes by Hamas and Israeli forces. Follow DW for more.

Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip on Sunday December 3
Israel said the military had struck more than 400 targets in Gaza over the weekendImage: Leo Correa/AP Photo/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Israel expands Gaza ground offensive to the south
  • The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court wants to investigate all possible Gaza war crimes
  • The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 15,500 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began
  • France's interior minister said a fatal attack in Paris late on Saturday appeared to be influenced at least in part by the conflict, based on the suspect's comments when he was detained

This live updates article has now been closed. For the latest developments on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, please click here.

Skip next section UNICEF calls for 'immediate humanitarian cease-fire'
December 3, 2023

UNICEF calls for 'immediate humanitarian cease-fire'

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said it was witnessing "massive child casualties."

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder was in southern Gaza and said the area was experiencing "the worst bombardment of the war right now."

"I feel like I'm almost failing in my ability to convey the endless killing of children here," he said in a video he posted on social media.

He called for an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire."

Skip next section Israel says ground operation has spread to all of Gaza
December 3, 2023

Israel says ground operation has spread to all of Gaza

The Israeli military says it has expanded its ground operation against the militant Islamist Palestinian group Hamas to "every part" of the Gaza Strip.

The army resumed its offensive Friday after a weeklong cease-fire expired.

After focusing its ground operation on the northern part of Gaza in recent weeks, the military began carrying out airstrikes in southern Gaza as well.

The vast majority of Gaza's population has fled to the south in search of safety.

But late Sunday, Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said ground troops were also pushing into the south.

"The Israeli army is continuing and expanding the ground operation against the Hamas presence in every part of the Gaza Strip," he said. "The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them."

Earlier, eyewitnesses had told DPA news agency that Israeli ground troops had advanced into an area east of the city of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel steps up bombing of Gaza Strip

Skip next section Israel reports 10,000 airstrikes on Gaza since war began
December 3, 2023

Israel reports 10,000 airstrikes on Gaza since war began

Israel's military says it has conducted around 10,000 airstrikes on targets in Gaza since the war began nearly two months ago.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said its targets included command centers, tunnels and weapons depots belonging to Palestinian terrorist organizations. The information could not be independently verified.

The announcement comes as international criticism of Israel's actions is growing. 

Israel's aeriel bombardment has caused a large number of civilian casualties.

On Sunday, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said some 15,523 people have been killed in Gaza since the war erupted and another 41,316 have been injured.

According to UN estimates, around 80% of the 2.2 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip have had to leave their homes because of the war.

Skip next section ICC chief prosecutor wants to investigate all possible Gaza war crimes
December 3, 2023

ICC chief prosecutor wants to investigate all possible Gaza war crimes

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said his office will "further intensify its efforts to advance its investigations" of possible crimes by Hamas and Israeli forces.

Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a written statement issued after his first visit to the region that he witnessed "scenes of calculated cruelty" at the locations of the October 7 attacks.

During the visit, he spoke to family members of Israeli victims and called for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas.

"The attacks against innocent Israeli civilians on 7 October represent some of the most serious international crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, crimes which the ICC was established to address," Khan said, adding that he and his prosecutors are working "to hold those responsible to account."

Khan also visited Palestinian officials in Ramallah, including President Mahmoud Abbas, and spoke to Palestinian victims.

He said of the war in Gaza that fighting in "densely populated areas where fighters are alleged to be unlawfully embedded in the civilian population is inherently complex, but international humanitarian law must still apply and the Israeli military knows the law that must be applied."

"We must show that the law is there, on the front lines, and that it is capable of protecting all," he added.

The Hague-based court has been investigating crimes in the Palestinian territories committed by both sides since 2021 but has yet to announce any charges.

Neither Israel or the US are member states of the court and do not recognize its jurisdiction.

Skip next section Israel insists it is trying to safeguard Gaza civilians
December 3, 2023

Israel insists it is trying to safeguard Gaza civilians

Israel's government has rejected accusations that the Israeli military is doing too little to safeguard the civilian population in the Gaza Strip as it seeks to destroy Hamas.

"We will in parallel make the maximum effort to do two things: one — to differentiate between the terrorists who are our bitter enemy and the civilian population. We will do everything to safeguard that population," Israeli government adviser Mark Regev said on Sunday.

"We will facilitate the entrance into Gaza of humanitarian support for the civilians of Gaza," he added.

His comments come as international concern has been intensifying over the death toll in Gaza, which on Sunday reached more than 15,500, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Regev also said Hamas was exclusively to blame for the war in Gaza and for the resumption of hostilities following the cease-fire and was using residential areas, hospitals and mosques to hide its "military terror machine."

Israel steps up bombing of Gaza Strip

His comments were backed up by US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby who said the White House believes Israel is "making an effort" to minimize civilian deaths in Gaza.

"We believe they have been receptive to our messages here of trying to minimize civilian casualties," he told ABC's "This Week", including publishing an online a map of places where Gazans could go to find safety. 

"There's not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that... to telegraph their punches in that way. So they are making an effort."

Ron Dermer, Israel's minister of strategic affairs, insisted on ABC that efforts to minimize civilian casualties were deliberate and "unprecedented." 

"If we wanted to do it fast," he said, "we'd harm a lot more civilians," he added.

Skip next section Gazan Health Ministry: Death toll surpasses 15,500
December 3, 2023

Gazan Health Ministry: Death toll surpasses 15,500

The number of people killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war with Israel reached 15,523 on Sunday, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said 70% of those killed were women and children, while 41,316 people had been wounded.

A spokesman for the Hamas government press office said 700 people had been killed over the past 24 hours as fighting restarted after a weeklong truce.

Al-Qudra said only 316 dead and 664 wounded were removed from the rubble and taken to hospitals, but many others were still lying among the remains of buildings as emergency crews struggled to reach them.

Having initially targeted northern Gaza, Israel's military has urged Gaza residents to move out of specified areas in the south of the territory as it hit a wider area with aerial bombardments.

Israel's air and ground campaign is in response to an attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel on October 7 in which around 1,200 were killed and 240 taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

The militant Islamist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, Germany and others.

Focus of Israeli airstrikes shifts to southern Gaza

Skip next section Israel says 800 tunnel shafts uncovered in Gaza
December 3, 2023

Israel says 800 tunnel shafts uncovered in Gaza

Israel's military says its soldiers have discovered 800 shafts leading to Hamas' network of tunnels below Gaza since October 27.

It added that more than half of them — around 500 shafts — had been destroyed using a variety of methods, including by "detonation and by sealing off."

It said many kilometers of tunnels had also been destroyed. It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims.

"The tunnel shafts were located in civilian areas, many of which were near or inside civilian buildings and structures, such as schools, kindergartens, mosques and playgrounds," the military said in a statement.

Before the current war broke out, Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, said it had hundreds of kilometers of tunnels built into the territory's sandy soil.

Israel has sought to target the tunnels in its war with Hamas, for example with air strikes and army engineers using mapping robots.

Skip next section Pope Francis urges new truce in Gaza
December 3, 2023

Pope Francis urges new truce in Gaza

Pope Francis says he was saddened the seven-day truce in the war between Israel and Hamas had been broken.

"There is so much suffering in Gaza," the pontiff said, as he called on all parties to reach a new agreement to end the fighting as soon as possible.

He also said his thoughts were with the dozens of people still held hostage by the militants in Gaza, as well as the humanitarian situation of residents in the enclave.

The Palestinian territory lacks essential supplies, he noted, adding that the situation there was "serious."

The pope is currently suffering from lung inflammation. His words were read by an aide during his Sunday Angelus message.

Skip next section Baerbock calls on Arab states to work for Mideast peace
December 3, 2023

Baerbock calls on Arab states to work for Mideast peace

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's holds a press conference in Tel Aviv
Baerbock has visited the region three times since October 7Image: Joseph Campbell/REUTERS

Germany's foreign minister has urged Arab states to work together constructively for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"All those who want to end the suffering must work together now," Annalena Baerbock said in an interview with the German news agency dpa in Berlin. "Because the key to a life in peace and security for the Israelis and Palestinians also lies in the region."

A week-long pause in the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza ended on Friday. Since then, negotiations have been underway to revive the truce.

Baerbock said that at such a crucial time, "a close dialogue with the constructive and moderate Arab states in the region was important."

She stressed the "indispensable role" that Qatar is playing as a mediator in securing pauses in fighting and the release of hostages held by Hamas.

"Fourteen German-Israelis, including many children and women, have already been able to return to their families from the dark tunnels of Hamas thanks to this invaluable commitment," she said.

She also praised efforts by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

Skip next section UK to conduct surveillance flights to help find hostages held by Hamas
December 3, 2023

UK to conduct surveillance flights to help find hostages held by Hamas

The UK government said it will carry out surveillance flights over Gaza to help locate hostages being held by militant group Hamas.

"In support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity, the UK Ministry of Defence will conduct surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza," a statement said.

"Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages," it added.

London did not specify when the military surveillance flights would begin.

Hamas killed more than 1,200 people and seized around 240 Israeli and foreign hostages during the October 7 terror attack on Israel.

Skip next section Israel shifts focus to south Gaza, expands evacuation orders
December 3, 2023

Israel shifts focus to south Gaza, expands evacuation orders

Israel's military has widened its evacuation orders in and around Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

In a statement issued early Sunday, it urged residents of half a dozen more areas in the city to leave immediately for their safety.

The military's Arabic-language spokesperson Avichay Adraee said they should move to "well-known IDP (internally displaced person) shelters" west of the city, including south toward Rafah.

He also posted a map highlighting the areas.

Residents quoted by the Reuters news agency said the military also dropped leaflets ordering them to move south to Rafah or to a coastal area in the southwest.

Focus of Israeli airstrikes shifts to southern Gaza

Many of the enclave's 2.3 million people are in the south after Israeli forces ordered them to leave the north at the start of the war.

Heavy bombardments were reported overnight around Khan Younis, Gaza's second-largest city.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its fighter jets and helicopters "struck terror targets" in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, including "terror tunnel shafts, command centers and weapons storage facilities."

It also said an armed drone guided by ground troops had eliminated five Hamas terrorists.

The militant Islamist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, Germany and others.

Skip next section Israeli military reports air raid sirens in south early Sunday
December 3, 2023

Israeli military reports air raid sirens in south early Sunday

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said air raid sirens sounded in several places in southern Israel early on Sunday morning. 

"At 3:46 a.m., sirens sounded in southern Israel," the IDF wrote on social media, including an image highlighting 17 locations in all. 

The military said rockets were again being fired at Israeli civilians. 

The initial statement made no mention of damage or casualties; Israel's so-called Iron Dome defense system is typically effective at intercepting such rockets and projectiles.

Relatives of Israeli hostages took precautions by lying down after attack sirens sounded in Tel Aviv due to rockets fired from Gaza during protests in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 02, 2023.
A night-time protest in Tel Aviv was also interrupted by warning sirensImage: Saeed Qaq/Anadolu/picture alliance

Late on Saturday in Tel Aviv, a protest led by relatives of Israeli hostages calling for the remaining hostages' release was also interrupted by air attack sirens, with the demonstrators diving for cover. 

Skip next section Key developments on Saturday
December 3, 2023

Key developments on Saturday

Welcome to our rolling updates on the conflict between Israel and Hamas for Sunday, December 3. 

Israel's military said early on Saturday that it had struck 400 military targets in the roughly 24 hours since the truce had elapsed, including more than 50 in the south of the enclave.

Palestinians wounded in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to a hospital in Khan Younis, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.
Hospitals in southern Gaza, like this one in Khan Younis, have been busier since the cease-fire broke, as Israel expands operations formerly concentrated in northern GazaImage: Fatima Shbair/AP Photo/picture alliance

It also said that Hamas or other Islamist Palestinian militants had fired more than 250 rockets at Israel since the cease-fire between the two sides collapsed on Friday. Hamas is recognized by Germany, the US, the EU and others as a terrorist organization. 

The Hamas-run government in Gaza reported 240 deaths in Gaza since the truce broke. 

Israel also said its negotiators had been recalled from Qatar on Saturday, as talks trying to revive the cease-fire failed. 

US Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin both made statements urging Israel to try to limit civilian casualties as it restarts military operations. 

In Germany, protesters gathered on Saturday in Berlin calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. 

Berlin, December 2, 2023: A large crowd taking part in a protest calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. A woman holding a baby doll aloft is prominently positioned in the foreground of the photo.
Police said they detained a handful of individuals during the protestImage: Michael Kuenne/PRESSCOV/ZUMA/picture alliance

nm/wd (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)