Israel shows images of tanks in Gaza as war on Hamas militants deepens

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Regional overspill?

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, a task that it described as necessitating protracted ground assaults in, around and under Gaza City, where the militants have an extensive subterranean bunker network.

There are fears too of regional overspill to the Gaza war, including in Lebanon where the Israeli army and Iranian-backed Hezbollah group have been exchanging fire.

On Sunday, the United Nations’ Lebanon peacekeeping force UNIFIL said one of its members was injured after shells hit the mission’s base near Houla on the Lebanese-Israeli border the day before.

Israel said there were several rocket or mortar launches from Lebanon at its territory, and that it was returning fire, while Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone.

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a call to protect civilians in Gaza and to “immediately and significantly increase the flow of humanitarian aid” to the besieged costal enclave, the White House said in a statement.

Mr Biden reiterated that Israel has a right to defend itself but said it should do so in a way that is consistent with international law on protecting civilians.

With supplies of food, water and medicines running low and much of Gaza reduced to rubble, thousands of residents broke into warehouses and distribution centres of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), grabbing flour and other basics, the organisation said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Sunday 24 Egyptian trucks carrying food and medicine had arrived in Gaza via the Rafah crossing, bringing the total number so far to 118, a small fraction of what is needed. None of the trucks have brought in fuel, the group said.

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