Israel intensified airstrikes in southern Gaza on Monday and bombed areas where it told Palestinians to seek shelter, Reuters reported.
Israel ordered the evacuation of parts of the main southern city of Khan Younis, but residents said areas where they were told to flee were still coming under attack. The Israeli military posted a map on X with arrows pointing from Khan Younis, telling people to head toward the Mediterranean Sea and the town of Rafah, near the Egyptian border.
But Rafah has continued to come under Israeli attack. The Reuters report reads: “Bombing at one site in Rafah overnight had torn a crater the size of a basketball court out of the earth. A dead toddler’s bare feet and black trousers poked out from under a pile of rubble. Men struggled with their bare hands to move a chunk of the concrete that had crushed the child.”
Many of the Palestinians who had to flee Khan Younis were in the city after evacuating from northern Gaza. It’s estimated that one million Palestinians have been displaced from the north. Dozens of Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers, and bulldozers entered Khan Younis on Monday.
The US had warned Israel not to expand its operations in southern Gaza before accounting for the millions of civilians that are there. But it’s clear Israel has ignored the US warnings as Israeli military officials are vowing the onslaught in the south will be just as bad as in the north.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant signaled on Monday that the destruction in the south could be even worse. “The IDF has begun to work in the south of the Gaza Strip. The fate of the terrorists in the Hamas battalions there will be the same as those in the north and worse,” Gallant said.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said Monday that at least 15,899 Palestinians have been killed in the besieged enclave since October 7. The ministry said 70% of the dead were women and children.