PALESTINA-ISRAEL - GAZA. Israeli forces pressed ahead with their air and ground bombardment of southern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, even as the United States and the United Nations repeatedly urged them to protect civilians.
Israel's closest ally the United States has said the Israeli offensive in the south should not repeat the "massive" civilian toll it has had in the north.
But residents and journalists on the ground said the intense Israeli air strikes in the south of the densely populated coastal enclave included areas where Israel had told people to seek shelter.
At the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Israel to avoid further action that would make the already dire humanitarian situation in Hamas-run Gaza worse, and to spare civilians from more suffering.
"The Secretary-General is extremely alarmed by the resumption of hostilities between Israel and Hamas... For people ordered to evacuate, there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on," U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
Israel largely captured the northern half of Gaza in November, and since a week-long truce collapsed on Friday they have swiftly pushed deep into the southern half.
Hamas ally Islamic Jihad's armed wing said its fighters engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli soldiers north and east of Khan Younis, Gaza's main southern city.
Israeli tanks have driven into Gaza across the border and cut off the main north-south route, residents said. The Israeli military said the central road out of Khan Younis to the north "constitutes a battlefield" and was now shut.
Philippe Lazzarini, who heads the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza (UNRWA), said the resumption of Israel's military operation was repeating "horrors from past weeks" by displacing people who had been previously displaced, overcrowding hospitals and further strangling the humanitarian operation due to limited supplies.
"The evacuation order pushes people to concentrate into what is less than one-third of the Gaza Strip. They need everything: food, water, shelter, and mostly safety. Roads to the south are clogged," Lazzarini said.