Israeli forces escalate Gaza offensive with shelling, arrests

Explosions thundered across the northern district of Gaza City in the morning hours, with an Al Jazeera correspondent on the ground reporting heavy shelling targeting the Korba area in the Shujayea neighbourhood.

The situation in the besieged Gaza Strip has taken an even more dangerous turn as Israeli artillery shelling intensified in Gaza City. At the same time, military forces conducted numerous arrests during raids in other areas of the coastal enclave.

Explosions thundered across the northern district of Gaza City in the morning hours, with an Al Jazeera correspondent on the ground reporting heavy shelling targeting the Korba area in the Shujayea neighborhood. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising over the densely populated urban zone.

The renewed strikes come as the Israeli military presses ahead with a broader ground offensive launched neighbourhood earlier this week with the stated aim of stopping Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. However, civilian casualties have continued mounting amid the heavy urban warfare, drawing condemnation from human rights monitors and the international community.

Adding to the volatility, Al Jazeera’s Arabic service also reported that Israeli troops surrounded a home in the Deir al-Balah area south of Gaza City, arresting an unspecified number of Palestinians including women. The raids targeted areas adjacent to the Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps which have repeatedly come under fire during the recent flare-up.

United Nations officials have voiced particular concern about the renewed violence’s impact on children in Gaza, where tens of thousands were left homeless by previous Israeli bombardments destroying housing and infrastructure across the besieged territory. UNICEF’s regional director called for all sides to protect the young from the devastating effects of violence.

As the sun rose over Gaza on Wednesday, the scale of the overnight damage remained to be assessed. What is clear is that hopes for a cessation of hostilities remain dangerously elusive amid the escalating Israeli military operation from Palestinian armed factions.

Efforts by regional mediators including Egypt and Qatar have so far failed to make progress on halting the rapidly intensifying cycle of violence.