Intense attacks against Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip were reported in the afternoon, shortly after operator Paltel detected a new communications blackout in the Strip and attributed it to Israel, the third since the beginning of war. At the same time, sirens sounded again in Tel Aviv and other cities in central Israel due to a new barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces completely surrounded Gaza City and divided the coastal enclave in two, the spokesman for the Jewish State Army (IDF), Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, announced in the afternoon, adding that “today there is northern Gaza and southern Gaza.”
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The IDF’s estimate, as reported by Haaretz shortly before Hagari’s remarks, is that the military will begin entering Gaza City and fighting inside the city within 48 hours, after the siege is completed. At this time the army would not have given orders to begin acting in the Al-Shifa hospital, the largest in Gaza City and also used as a refuge, where according to Israeli intelligence assessments many senior Hamas exponents are hiding. But according to Haaretz, senior Israeli army officials have addressed the issue and have not ruled out a subsequent military operation at the hospital.
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The day opened with two new Israeli air attacks against refugee camps in the central area of the Strip: that of Maghazi where the deaths according to the Palestinian agency Wafa were at least 51; and that of Bureij, which according to AP caused at least 13 deaths. News that came on the day that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stopped in the West Bank as part of his trip to the region, where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
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“The Gaza Strip is an integral part of the State of Palestine and we will shoulder all our responsibilities as part of a comprehensive political solution for both the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” Abbas told Blinken. Which translated means that, for Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Authority, which no longer has any authority in Gaza since Hamas took control in 2007, could return to power in the Gaza Strip if a “comprehensive political solution” is achieved. Palestinian-Israeli conflict. which establishes an independent state that also includes the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands that Israel conquered in the 1967 war.