1 of 5 | Ground fighting raged in Gaza Friday as Israel hit hundreds of targets and encountered tough resistance from Hamas in Khan Younis. An Israeli bombing mission on the central Gaza Strip is evident Friday, with buildings in ruble on both sides from previous bombings. Photo by Jim Hollander/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 8 (UPI) — Intense ground fighting continued Friday in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israel Defense Forces have encountered some of the toughest Hamas resistance yet.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said 17,487 Palestinians have died in the fighting, while the IDF said 91 Israeli troops have died in Gaza action, including two on Thursday as Israeli troops carried out strikes on over 450 targets.
Meanwhile, shrapnel was seen around Tel Aviv after rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Hamas was beginning to break in Gaza. He spoke during a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony with a mixed-gender infantry unit and armored corps, giving women credit.
“It is impossible to ignore the strong, prominent and successful female presence [in the war]. Women have not really fought in the IDF since 1948. This is the first time this has happened, after 75 years, in massive fighting,” Gallant told the troops. “The results are very impressive.”
Israeli armed forces have intensified bombardment of the Gaza Strip while also carrying out raids in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera reported.
The attacks hit Rafah in southern Gaza as fighting also raged in Khan Younis.
Since the IDF first invaded Khan Younis on Monday night, Hamas fighters have regrouped and dug in, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The IDF said weapons were found in the area of a school in Khan Younis, including launchers, mortar barrels, RPGs and explosives, as well as intelligence left by the local Hamas brigade.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said dozens of people were killed in Israeli attacks on a house near a hospital there.
U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said negotiations were continuing for more humanitarian aid to be delivered and another border crossing to be opened in Gaza.
“We do not have a humanitarian operation in the south of Gaza that can be called by that name any more,” he told reporters in Geneva.
U.N Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday joined most members of the Security Council to again call for a Gaza cease-fire, but the United States indicated it would oppose such an effort. And it did later Friday afternoon when it vetoed a U.N. resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. Thirteen countries were in favor of the resolution. The United Kingdom abstained.
As of Nov. 13, 101 U.N. staff members had been killed in the Gaza war, the most lost in war in United Nations history.
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